JAMIE Hepburn has slammed both major Westminster party leaders at a local Yes meeting.

Speaking to the annual general meeting of the Yes Dunbar group, the minister for independence said the choice offered by the Westminster parties is between a “right-wing conviction politician” in Rishi Sunak and a “no conviction politician” in Keir Starmer.

He added that it is essential for the Scottish Government to continue setting out an optimistic but realistic prospectus for independence, which would include an economic plan delivered through a series of set-piece events and speeches.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA)

Hepburn told attendees: “Independent countries that are like Scotland are both fairer and wealthier than the UK, so with all our resources and talent the key question in Scottish politics should be this: why not Scotland?

“The Westminster parties are offering a choice between Rishi Sunak, who has the most right wing convictions of any Prime Minister in recent times and Keir Starmer who seems to have no convictions at all.

“But Sunak and Starmer are joined at the hip on Brexit which is causing a big rise in food prices and hitting household budgets."

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He added: “This makes it all the more essential for the Scottish Government to continue its independence work to demonstrate there is a better future by focusing on core values: equality, opportunity and community.

“We’ve already set out a macroeconomic framework, including currency proposals, plans for a modern constitution which will enshrine the right to access a system of health care free at the point of need, and a welcoming and inclusive approach to citizenship.

“Given the economic failure of Westminster we’ll step up our work on the economy through a series of speeches and set-piece events to how in an independent Scotland we can build an economy that works for everyone.

“We are setting out an optimistic but realistic prospectus for an independent Scotland: a message of hope which has never been needed more.”