Tories ask permission to include Forbes attack in party political broadcast

The Scottish Tories have written to Kate Forbes asking to use her attacks on Humza Yousaf’s record in government for a party political broadcast.

In a letter signed off by “everyone at the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party”, the party said “such honesty is to be commended”.

The correspondence references the SNP leadership candidate’s scathing attack on her rival in a live debate on STV last week.

In the harshest exchange of the race thus far, Ms Forbes hit out at the Health Secretary, saying: “You were a transport minister and the trains were never on time, when you were Justice Secretary the police were stretched to breaking point, and now as health minister we’ve got record-high waiting times.

“What makes you think you can do a better job as first minister?”

During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the comments would feature in his party’s election leaflets.

In a clear attempt to capitalise on some of the internal splits caused by the comments and the wider leadership race, the party’s letter said: “We thought your honest assessment of the SNP’s record in Government during the recent leader’s debate on STV was spot on.

“We applaud your statement that, on the SNP’s watch, ‘the trains never run on time, the police service is stretched to breaking point and there’s record waiting times in the NHS’.

“Such honesty is to be commended. We welcome it whole-heartedly.”

Ms Forbes’ comments were focused on the record of Mr Yousaf as a government minister, as opposed to the entire government, as the Tories appear to be intimating.

The Tory letter added: “We admire your truthful assessment so much that we would be pleased to feature it in our next party political broadcast on the BBC and STV.

“We think your scathing judgement deserves to be seen by every voter in Scotland, as often as possible.

“Since your criticism of the SNP’s record was delivered with such enthusiasm, we assume that won’t be a problem, but we thought it best to give you a heads up anyway.”