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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
SNP defeated over policy pledges
Scottish Parliament chamber
Rival parties joined forces to inflict the defeat
Opposition parties have inflicted defeat on the SNP at Holyrood after claiming that the party had failed to keep election promises.

Labour, the Lib Dems and Tories voted against the minority government.

Earlier, First Minister Alex Salmond denied claims that the Nationalists had backtracked on key pledges.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems claimed he had watered down plans to increase police officers, while Labour accused Mr Salmond of closing schools.

The motion passed by MSPs noted that the Scottish Government had failed to implement a "wide range" of policies, which also included a council tax freeze and 2,000 for first-time home buyers.

Mr Salmond has previously stressed that he had four years to deliver the SNP's manifesto.

Speaking at question time in Holyrood, the first minister said he would set out plans for the "equivalent" of 1,000 extra officers on the streets and match Labour's school building programme.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen pointed out the Nationalists' manifesto pledge of plans to employ 1,000 additional officers.

It's one thing letting people down in government, Wendy Alexander is letting them down in opposition
Alex Salmond
First minister

He added: "The officers would be employed, they'd be new, they'd be additional and there would be 1,000 of them.

"The first minister has confirmed that none of that is true."

Mr Stephen said the promise had become "rebadging, renaming or reshuffling existing police".

Also on the attack, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie demanded to know when police numbers would rise from 16,261 to 17,261.

The SNP manifesto, she pointed out, had claimed "we want to see these new police officers becoming part of the fabric of communities".

The first minister said that while some may see the term "equivalent" as a "weasel word", it had been used by Cathy Jamieson, former justice minister.

"The important thing for communities in Scotland is to have police deployed in the streets and communities - not in back office, not in bureaucracy where the Liberal party left them," said Mr Salmond.

He also insisted Labour's school building programme would be carried out "brick for brick", without the need for public private partnership schemes.

Police officers
The SNP had watered down police plans, rival parties claimed

Mr Salmond produced a letter which he said showed the last Scottish administration's commitment to fund new schools in the capital was conditional on the UK Government's yet to be announced spending plans.

Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander accused the SNP government of failing to keep its pledge to match Labour's plans to build or refurbish 250 schools over four years by turning down a request from Edinburgh City Council chiefs for finances for their plans on the issue.

She said the previous Scottish Executive had helped provide 20 new schools in the capital, adding: "There is nothing on the table from the SNP. In Portobello High School the classrooms are collapsing."

She asked: "Why are the children losing out because they won't give the go-ahead to new schools?"

Mr Salmond said that no commitment had ever been given to the Edinburgh local authority for the work.

"I know Wendy Alexander is new to the job," he said.

"If Labour are not going to continue to let the people down, then she had better come armed with facts and figures to these question times.

"It's one thing letting people down in government, Wendy Alexander is letting them down in opposition."

SEE ALSO
How MSPs voted in the parliament
04 Oct 07 |  Scotland
SNP denies freezing out elderly
20 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Salmond gives commitment pledge
06 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Police chief reveals knife fears
26 Sep 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Call to increase police spending
17 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Questions over class size policy
31 May 07 |  Scotland

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