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Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs a draft Bill will be drawn up setting out the timing, terms and question for a new Scottish independence referendum. The First Minister has explained that Brexit strengthened the case for Scotland to become an independent country. Former Conservative cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell has called for there to be a clear conclusion to what Scottish independence would look like it before another vote on it.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Mr Mitchell said: “I think the case for independence in Scotland has clearly grown in the last year, there’s no doubt about that.
“The problem with an independence referendum again if we’re pushed towards that next year is that no one knows what the result of independence would be.
“It’s clearly in everyone’s interest that before another vote takes place, people should know what the effect of independence would be, what the cost would be.”
He added: “I think Brexit has made the case for the union more difficult to push in Scotland.
“We need to make certain that if there is going to be another referendum, I think it will be very difficult to resist if the SNP get a strong vote next year.
“Then, in that case, the people need to be aware of what the consequences of dissolving the union would be before they cast a vote.”
Ms Sturgeon said the suppression of COVID-19 would be the priority, adding that a resurgence of the virus would hit the economy hard.
She said: “However, we will not simply hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.
“We can’t afford to.
“We must end our contribution to climate change, improve biodiversity, invest in our infrastructure, make our public services fit for the future, harness the economic and social opportunities of new technology, make homelessness history, and lift children out of poverty.
“So, even amidst the uncertainties of a global pandemic, this is a time to be ambitious.”
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross responded by tweeting: “The First Minister just doesn’t get it.
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“We need to take Scotland forward and recover from this crisis together, not go back to the divisions of the past.”
Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said the proposed draft Referendum Bill was a “reckless announcement” which shows the First Minister’s “top priority is to divide the people of Scotland”.
The Labour MP said: “All her focus should be on post-COVID recovery, not returning to the old politics of division that will harm Scotland’s society and economy.
“Re-opening the constitutional debate will do nothing to help our NHS recover from the pandemic, or help the children who have lost months of education, or help grow our economy.”
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