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Tuesday 23rd
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

THE SNP is under fire for attempting to smear a nurse who confronted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon live on air over the crippling 1 per cent pay cap at the Scottish leaders’ debate.

A&E nurse Claire Austin repeatedly questioned an evasive Ms Sturgeon on Sunday night over how long the public-sector pay cap had been in place, saying: “How do you expect somebody to live on that?”

She added that working in the NHS felt “demoralising” and that she’d had to rely on a foodbank.

The First Minister attempted to justify the pay cap by saying: “We have had a really difficult period with public spending so we have had the policy in place.”

SNP parliamentary candidate Joanna Cherry, who was in the spin room for the BBC debate, initially told the BBC: “I’m advised that the nurse who spoke is in fact the wife of a Conservative councillor — so she’s probably best placed to know she’d be considerably worse off south of the border.”

Ms Cherry, the SNP’s justice and home affairs spokeswoman in Westminster, backtracked after the BBC said that Ms Austin was unmarried writing an apology on Twitter.

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale accused the SNP of using “dirty tricks.”

She urged Ms Sturgeon to “stop the muck-raking. Stop the excuses. Listen to what the people of Scotland are telling you.”

Civil Service union PCS backed claims that many have to turn to foodbanks and pay day loans.

National officer Lynn Henderson said: “Some politicians are completely out of touch. They have no idea the havoc and misery that austerity pay has wreaked on ordinary workers.”