NICOLA Sturgeon has accused the Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour of not wanting to get into power at Holyrood and being poor at opposition too.

During her closing speech to the SNP conference today the First Minister - whose party has been in government in Edinburgh since 2007 - launched a sustained attack on Boris Johnson's Conservative Government in Westminster.

But she also hit out at Douglas Ross's Scottish Tories and Anas Sarwar's Scottish Labour and said they should reflect on what their parties were doing wrong and learn from their mistakes.

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The Scottish Tories have never been in government in Holyrood, while the last time Labour governed there was as a coalition with the Lib Dems more than 14 years ago.

Eyebrows have been raised when Ross has declared wanting to be First Minister, while ahead of the this year's Holyrood election Sarwar did not even have becoming FM as an ambition for that May but said he “will be the First Minister” of Scotland at the following election, due to take place in 2026.

The First Minister's closing speech to the SNP conference, which was held virtually because of the pandemic, comes just months after the SNP won a record fourth term in government and weeks after her administration signed an agreement with the Scottish Greens, which saw the smaller Yes party enter government for the first time in the UK with two ministers.

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"Honest reflection is important for any party, even after election success. It is especially important in the wake of heavy defeat. The SNP understood that after of our loss in 2003," she said.

"We thought hard about the message voters had sent us, and what we had to do better to earn their trust. That’s why we were able to win in 2007.

"It utterly astonishes me, baffles me completely in fact, given the number and scale of their defeats, that Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats show absolutely no inclination to do likewise."

She added: "Instead of adapting positions that voters have rejected time and again, they are doubling down and expecting voters to adapt to them.

"These parties demonstrate no sign at all of learning the lessons or making the changes necessary to move from opposition to government.

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"Which can lead to only one conclusion - they don’t aspire to be in government. Now, all of that may be good for the SNP. But it is bad for democracy. Oppositions hungry to be in government are more effective. And effective opposition matters in a democracy."

She stated: "But that is not what we have in Scotland. Instead, on virtually every issue, we have opposition simply for the sake of opposition. It’s not about achieving or improving anything, or even holding power to account. It is just about blocking the SNP at any cost.

"It is crude, it lacks principle or consistency and it is utterly counter-productive. The country deserves so much better than that. The times we are living through and the challenges we face demand a better way of doing politics.

"That’s why after this election, instead of taking what might have been the easy option - to carry on as before - we decided to be bolder and seek co-operation with the Scottish Greens. I am delighted that we were able to reach an agreement."

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During her address Sturgeon warned of the impact Brexit was causing as she pointed to empty supermarket shelves and labour shortages and raised the prospect that the situation may get worse with trade damaged.

She underlined concerns that in the post Brexit environment the UK Government were trying to undermine the devolution settlement and along with the impact of Brexit, Scotland would be less prosperous.

The Scottish Tories dismissed her intervention and accused the First Minister of advancing "wild conspiracy theory" and starting a nationalist "Project Fear”. The term was previously used by the Yes campaign in 2014 to reject the No campaign's portrayal of independence.

Scottish Conservative Shadow cabinet secretary for the constitution Donald Cameron said: “This speech - another one headlined by independence – might work wonders with the extreme elements of the nationalist base. But it does nothing for Scotland.

“Only the most fanatical SNP supporters will buy Nicola Sturgeon’s wild conspiracy theory that the UK is trying to make Scotland poorer when the Scottish Budget is at a record high, the UK furlough scheme has saved a million Scottish jobs, and the UK vaccine scheme has protected the health of millions of Scots.

“Instead of focusing on the NHS crisis and protecting jobs, Nicola Sturgeon has invented her own nationalist Project Fear. To distract from the SNP’s domestic failings, she’s ramping up division.

“The SNP leader also dusted off the infamous ‘Arc of Prosperity’ to try and drum up some kind of economic case for separating Scotland in the middle of a crisis, when we need the strength and security of the United Kingdom more than ever.

“At some stage, Nicola Sturgeon is going to have to find something new to say. We are building Scotland’s real alternative to an SNP Government that looks more tired by the day.”

The National:

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson (above) hit back saying the Tories were making "more pointless opposition for opposition's sake".

Gibson said: "The Tories were the original architects of Project Fear and the threats they spoke about in 2014 are now the reality we face at the hands of the Tory party themselves as they dragged Scotland out of the EU against our will.

"Scotland cannot afford to continue under Westminster rule - some of our most vital industries have been dealt hammer blow after hammer blow by Brexit, and this is just the beginning.

"As the Tories continue to talk about another referendum all it demonstrates is that they know one is coming and they will not be able to stand in the way of the cast iron mandate the people of Scotland delivered to hold a referendum for recovery - and that is what they will get."