Day One at #SNP19

SNP Spring Conference got underway today in Edinburgh, welcoming 3,000 delegates.

Conference got off to a hopeful start with the announcement of a new poll showing support for independence has risen to 49%.

The Yougov/Times poll also showed the SNP taking a 25-point lead in the run-up to European Elections, putting both the party and the movement on a strong footing for the months ahead.

Conference opened with a Welcoming Address by Michael Russell MSP, Minister for Government Business and Constitutional Relations. Russell has been at the forefront of defending Scotland’s place in Europe and highlighted the growing need for Scotland to forge its own distinct path as an independent country.

He also spoke about the need to reach out constructively to those who have disagreed with independence in the past, and encourage everyone who lives here to play their part in building a new Scotland.

Read Michael Russell’s full speech to conference here.

Over lunch time, several fringe meetings took place, where members gathered to discuss present issues such as the impact of Tory austerity, EU citizens’ rights in the wake of Brexit, tackling climate change, and much more.

The afternoon session opened with an address by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, highlighting the damage caused by Brexit and the need for Scotland to open up new and inclusive dialogue about its future.

Swinney also celebrated the SNP’s achievements in Government, such as introducing the Baby Box, which now has a take-up rate of 96%, giving every child the best possible start in life.

Read John Swinney’s full speech to conference here.

In the afternoon, Conference debated the findings of the Sustainable Growth Commission, a set of proposals designed to let Scotland reach its full potential and match the success of other small, independent nations. Proposals included plans for Scotland to keep the pound for a transitional period before adopting to its own independent currency.

Conference passed the resolution in support of the Sustainable Growth Commission, with an amendment that the parliament of an independent Scotland will decide when a new currency is best practicable.