Brexit: Sturgeon and SNP left with ‘headache’ says insider
The former Scottish Tories leader hit out at the First Minister after the SNP claimed Scottish independence was an “essential priority”. Ms Davidson, the Scottish Conservative Party’s Holyrood Leader, blasted the SNP for prioritising another vote when the main focus should be on vaccinating people from the deadly virus. The MSP for Edinburgh Central tweeted: “There is a critical response to COVID that the Scottish government should be focusing on – and it is vaccination, not indyref2.”
Her comments were in response to Deputy First Minister John Swinney putting forward his case for Scotland’s constitutional future during an interview on Politics Scotland yesterday.
He said: “An independence referendum is an essential priority for the people of Scotland, because it gives us the opportunity to choose how we rebuild as a country from Covid.
“It would give us an opportunity to decide on our constitutional future and to determine the nature of our economy and the way we deal with and support our citizens.
“It’s a critical response to Covid.”
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Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross disagreed with Mr Swinney’s comments as he said another referendum was the “last thing Scotland needs”.
He tweeted: “The Covid vaccine, protecting jobs and the future of schools are our ‘essential priority’.
“Pushing for indyref2 this year is the last thing Scotland needs.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden added the claims were “tone deaf” amid covid cases in the UK continuing to rise.
He said: “Tone deaf from the SNP.
“They think an independence referendum is an “essential priority” in the middle of a pandemic.”
Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Dean Lockhart said Mr Swinney’s priorities should be a successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout and business support, rather than “another divisive independence referendum”.
The comments from Mr Swinney came after Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer had earlier warned there should not be a “further divisive referendum vote”.
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He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “I don’t think there should be another referendum, I don’t think a further divisive referendum is the way forward.
“But I do accept that the status quo isn’t working. I don’t accept the argument that the status quo isn’t working, the next thing you do is go to a referendum.
“I think there are other things you can do, other arguments that can be made in support of the United Kingdom.”
The Scottish Government has repeatedly said a pro-independence majority in Holyrood after May’s elections should mean the Government has to grant another independence referendum.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously warned it should be up to 40 years before another vote is held after Scottish people voted against independence with a majority of 55 percent in 2014.
In a speech to the SNP’s virtual conference last month, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted Scottish people to back the call to hold another vote “for a legal independence referendum to be held in the early part of the new parliament” – potentially in Autumn 2021.
She said: “I’m not ruling anything out, I’m not ruling anything in.”
Ms Sturgeon also hinted legal action could be taken if Mr Johnson blocks another vote.
She said: “That inalienable right of self-determination cannot, and will not, be subject to a Westminster veto.
“We are seeing across the Atlantic, what happens to those who try to hold back the tide of democracy. They get swept away.”
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