Nicola Sturgeon showed all of her emotions during her final First Minister’s Questions appearance, amid claims she founded the NHS and pleaded with opposition MSPs not to bring up the SNP membership crisis.
As members of the Scottish Parliament arrived for Nicola Sturgeon’s final speech as First Minister, some SNP members were seen bringing boxes of tissues to deal with the expected high emotions.
Tory MSP Sandesh Gulhane, however, only lamented the fact that he wasn’t allowed to photograph the gushing scene as tissues were passed around the loyal backbenchers.
Unfortunately for Mrs Sturgeon, her opponents were not willing to give her a free ride in her final Holyrood appearance.
As the question period began, Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross delivered his first left hook.
Mr Ross centred his remarks on the recent SNP membership scandal, in which both Mrs. Sturgeon’s husband and the party’s chief press officer were forced to resign after it was revealed that the public had been misled about the party’s membership figures.
“Why did Nicola Sturgeon’s party – the government party in this parliament – lie to the press and the public?” he asked.
Mrs Sturgeon forced a smile as convincing as the SNP’s initial denials of losing 30,000 members, telling the audience, “I’ve got nothing to add to what I’ve already said.”
It became clear right away that she had a lot to add to what she’d already said.
SNP MSPs were so taken with the remark that they refused to stop clapping until the Presiding Officer intervened, possibly in the hope of continuing to applaud for the remaining 55 minutes of the session and sparing their outgoing leader the agony of answering any more questions.
Labour leader Anas Sarwar shifted the conversation back to issues that mattered to Scots, asking Nicola Sturgeon to summarise “which of her government’s many failures does the First Minister think her successor needs to address first?”
Mrs Sturgeon began, “Well, Anas Sarwar is just wrong,” her furious expression revealing that she meant no respect at all.
Mrs Sturgeon ended her speech by saying, “It truly has been the privilege of my lifetime, and with these words, presiding officer, I draw it to a close.”
She wiped a tear, received a prolonged standing ovation from her backbench MSPs.