Nicola Sturgeon: Dale warns of drop in independence support
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During the historic referendum of 2014, Scotland voted 55 percent to 45 percent in favour of remaining part of the UK in a damning blow to the SNP’s hopes of Scottish independence. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to transfer the required powers to Holyrood needed to hold another vote, insisting the first referendum was a “once in a lifetime” event. Scotland has been ravaged by the Covid pandemic, with thousands of people dying, the health service under huge pressure and the battered economy not expected to return to normal until at least 2023, according to experts.
Despite this, prior to presenting the referendum bill in the Scottish parliament last week, constitution secretary Mike Russell vowed to hold a Scottish independence referendum “at the conclusion of the pandemic”.
The latest attempted aggressive move on independence has left arch rival the Scottish Conservatives furious.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture Maurice Golden, who formerly served as the Scottish Tories’ chief whip, told Express.co.uk: “The SNP’s plan to press ahead with a Scottish independence referendum at the end of the Covid pandemic is absolutely ludicrous.
“The reverberations following the pandemic will last for years to come.
“Economic forecasters have said we might get back to normal by 2023 or 2024, so there is no time or space or legitimacy for holding an independence referendum in this next parliament.
“There is so much to do to restore Scotland and diverting resources to a referendum is outrageous.”
Mr Golden said voting the SNP in for another term in government during the would be “bad for Scotland” and is hopeful the country can “move beyond the poisonous politics we have seen in Scotland over the past few years”.
He added: “We have a government in power for 14 years but extending that would be bad for Scotland.
“Creating more hurt and fear in Scotland at a time when we should be focusing on recovery is massively concerning.
“I hope we can move beyond the poisonous politics we have seen in Scotland over the past few years.
“I would hope we have a parliament improving education and supporting key workers and NHS, debating things that really matter to people rather than the hatred and grievance of independence.”
Last weekend’ Scotland’s constitutional secretary Mr Russell pledged to hold a Scottish independence referendum “at the conclusion of the pandemic”.
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Prior to the publication of the Independence Referendum Bill, he said: “It’s going to say that we will hold an independence referendum when the time is right to hold it and that will be at the conclusion of the pandemic.
“Nobody is suggesting anything else and again that’s been misrepresented and what it’s going to say is something incredibly normal which is that people should have the right to decide their own future, that’s how the world works.”
Mr Russell also claimed that others are attempting to undermine the Scottish parliament, which has been “turbo-charged” by the Scottish Tories.
But Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Dean Lockhart hit back: “Yet again a tone-deaf senior minister goes on TV to confirm the intent to publish an independence referendum bill this week.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s government is mired in sleaze and out of ideas. Instead of focussing on Scotland’s post-pandemic recovery, they continue to rule out staging another damaging referendum as early as this year.
“Sturgeon and her gang have lost the plot. They have become so detached from reality that they’re disconnected from the priorities of hard-working Scots.
“To hear Michael Russell accuse others of undermining Holyrood is SNP spin at its most absurd.
“Sturgeon and her party have done everything possible to subvert parliament and undermine democratic accountability in a desperate bid to cling to power.”
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