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Saturday, October 18, 2008

SNP rank-and-file back alcohol crackdown

By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor
17 Oct 2008

Grassroots SNP members have backed the party's controversial proposals for cracking down on alcohol abuse after coming under pressure from ministers not to "tie their hands".

Delegates overwhelmingly backed a Scottish Executive consultation on the measures, but were split over whether to support a plan to raise the minimum age for buying alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences from 18 to 21.

The SNP's youth wing, Young Scots For Independence, put forward an amendment arguing that the proposal will "do little to tackle the real problem with Scotland's relationship with the bottle" and demonise young people.

However, that was defeated by 131 votes to 190 at the party conference in Perth after Alex Salmond, the First Minister, pointedly appeared on the platform to cast his ballot.

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