LABOUR and the SNP clashed over local health services in Scotland at yesterday’s First Minister’s Questions, with Kezia Dugdale demanding Nicola Sturgeon “call in” proposed cuts by health boards in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and the Lothians.

It followed the Scottish Government’s first defeat in Parliament on Wednesday night when Holyrood’s opposition parties joined together to back a Labour motion calling for usual procedure to be ignored, and a series of proposed cuts and downgrades across Scotland to be looked at by ministers rather than health boards.

It was a noisy session, during which presiding officer Ken Macintosh had to ask MSPs to “keep it down”.

Sturgeon accused Labour of “complete incoherence”.

Dugdale said her party were “angry” that SNP candidates promised voters during the election campaign that “services were safe when they were not”.

“We are talking about maternity services at the Vale of Leven Hospital, the Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow, cleft palate services in the Lothians and many more. Now that the Parliament has spoken, will the Health Secretary immediately call those decisions in and reject the planned cuts?” the Labour leader asked.

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The First Minister, who promised to “follow due process” on all closures and downgrades, said: “Week in, week out, the Labour Party stands up in the chamber and accuses the Government of undermining local decision making. Today, it stands up and demands that we undermine local decision making. It is an absolute shambles.”

Labour, Sturgeon said, needed to accept “there is a process through which we go to consider and reach judgments on such changes”.

Earlier, Tory leader Ruth Davidson had pushed the First Minister on fracking. Her question came the day after the first shipment of shale gas to Scotland. A tanker carrying ethane gas from the US docked at the Ineos refinery in Grangemouth on Wednesday.

The SNP, Davidson argued, were guilty of hypocrisy for having a moratorium on the controversial drilling method, while at the same time allowing the gas extracted through fracking to be shipped in and used in Scotland, a situation, she claimed, was likely to become more commonplace. “It is quite possible that shale gas will get the go-ahead in the rest of the United Kingdom soon, if local communities back it,” Davidson said. “Providers say that if it gets the go-ahead, much of the gas will go to Grangemouth and will end up in the national grid, powering Scottish homes. We could end up with a ban on Scottish gas, but with Scottish homes reliant on English gas to keep the pipes warm.”

Sturgeon replied: “I know the Scottish Conservatives are a party controlled by London but, in the era of devolution, I think it is right that we take the decisions about fracking in Scotland here in Scotland in our national Parliament, and that is what we will continue to do.

“Given the concerns that have been raised domestically in Scotland, in other parts of the United Kingdom and in many other countries, we will continue to take an evidence-based approach. Being lectured on energy by a representative of the party that is pouring public money into the white elephant that is Hinkley Point is a bit rich.”