Scotland should spend the next decade trying to become an “economic powerhouse” which is a “force for good” in the world, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

While the Scottish First Minister said the last 10 years had been defined by the Conservatives’ austerity agenda and the pursuit of Brexit, the next period should be about “what Scotland can do for the world”.

Ms Sturgeon, who was addressing business leaders in Glasgow, argued that in recent years the policies of “the most reckless, self-interested UK government in living memory” had hindered efforts to make Scotland a fairer and more prosperous nation.

Speaking at the Business for Scotland dinner, she said: “We are reaching the end of a decade which will be remembered for two Tory obsessions – austerity and Brexit.

“Both of these have been an unmitigated disaster – not just for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK.

“The ideologically driven cuts to Scotland’s budget have choked off the economic recovery and put incredible pressure on our public services.

“And the Brexit referendum, which was cynically designed to heal divisions in the Tory party, has instead brought the UK to its knees.”

She hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his decision to suspend Parliament in the run up the the UK’s exit from the European Union on October 31 – saying that he “appears to have misled the Queen, misled Parliament and misled the country”.

Nicola Sturgeon said the Tories in govenrment had been an ‘unmitigated disaster’ for Scotland. (Jane Barlow/PA)

Noting that Scotland had voted to stay part of the EU in the 2016 referendum, Ms Sturgeon said: “We didn’t vote for Brexit, we didn’t vote for Boris Johnson, and we certainly didn’t vote for the catastrophic no-deal Brexit which is now being imposed on us. ”

The SNP leader added: “As we reach the end of this decade, let’s all resolve that the next one will not be defined by that which is done to Scotland.

“Instead, let’s resolve that the next decade should be defined by what Scotland can do for the world.

“Let’s resolve to use Scotland’s immense human and natural resources to build a fairer and more prosperous nation – an economic powerhouse which is a force for good both at home and abroad.”