Derek MacKay MSP welcomes you to SNP conference

Derek MacKay MSP welcomes delegates, visitors and diplomats to the 77th Annual SNP Conference at Eden Court in Inverness. 

I’d like to welcome you all to the 77th annual SNP conference here at Eden Court in Inverness.

A lot of has changed since we last met – we have redrawn Scotland’s political map and won a huge opportunity for our nation. In May the SNP made unprecedented gains right across the country, winning in Labour heartlands where no political commentator thought we had a chance and of course we now have a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

It will be a special moment for me as the first conference I will chair in my role as Business Convenor, a real honour for me. I will be welcoming some of our many new members who will be attending for the first time. I remember my first conference, 16 years ago, and never imagined I would be chairing it.

First conference after the historic result, polls looking good for the party and for independence , and new ambitious targets set – no pressure then!

In May the electorate put their trust in the SNP. They voted for a positive party that would always put Scotland first and act on the matters important to them. It is important that we continue to repay that trust by delivering for them in Government.

The reason that many of us joined this party in the first place was independence and the belief that Scotland can and should take responsibility as a normal nation. With the trust the Scottish people gave us in May we are now in a position to ensure that the people of Scotland have their say on the constitutional future of the nation. That is something that we should all be proud of.

This conference, our biggest ever, will underline the commitments we gave in the run up to May’s election and give us a platform for what we believe is the best way forward for Scotland ahead of the all-important Local Authority elections next year.

It’ll be a busy time, with the conference events, and evening meetings. I’m hoping for a fantastic conference to show how our team, team Scotland, have been and will continue to be delivering for Scotland.

Proper support for the economy, employment opportunities for all, protecting our health service, investing in education and the fight against global warming are all issues that are of importance to the people of Scotland and that is what will be discussed over the next four days and of course the way forward for our nation.

With around 2000 delegates, exhibitors, visitors and diplomats in attendance, this looks set to not only be the biggest ever conference but also the best. I’ll do my bit to make it a milestone in our on-going journey for Scotland.