Mark Spencer says Scotland should wait 25 years for referendum
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The First Minister and SNP leader launched a new campaign for another referendum on independence earlier this week. Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said the Scottish Government plans to hold a vote in October next year.
However, at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross questioned the Scottish Government’s priorities.
He said attention should be paid to closing the poverty-related attainment gap and funding the NHS as opposed to pushing for another “divisive” vote.
Ms Sturgeon retorted: “There is a real desperation at the heart of Douglas Ross’s approach to independence.
“It’s very telling that he is so terrified of the substantive debate on independence, so terrified of the verdict of the Scottish people on independence, that he’s reduced to somehow trying to pretend that democracy in Scotland is illegal.
“It is not a question of whether this Government respects the rule of law – we do and always will – the question is, is Douglas Ross a democrat?
“And I think the glaring answer to that is no.”
Responding, Mr Ross said: “First Minister, your priorities are all wrong at the worst possible time.
“It is a crucial moment right now for public services and our economy.
“We’ve just gone through a pandemic, war in Europe has hiked energy prices, there is a global cost-of-living crisis.”
He said it is time for people to “pull together” to tackle the issues at hand, adding: “A focus on our recovery, that’s what the Scottish people overwhelmingly want, not a referendum.
“We need a strong government for all of Scotland, but we’re getting a weak campaign group for the nationalist minority that values grievance over governing.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Independence is about ensuring that we can better meet the priorities of the Scottish people.”
She claimed the challenges outlined by Mr Ross are being “exacerbated” because Scotland is not independent.
It comes just days after the First Minister announced her plans to hold a second referendum.
Mr Robertson told BBC Radio Scotland: “The first minister made clear yesterday she intends to make an announcement to the Scottish parliament in the forthcoming weeks about a route map towards a referendum, which we intend to hold next October.
“I am fully content that with the prospectus beginning to be rolled out, with the announcement that will follow on the route map on how that is going to be achieved, that we have a perfectly adequate window of opportunity both for legislation to be passed, for the opportunity for the people to scrutinise the prospectus the Scottish government will publish.”
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The Scottish Conservatives accused Sturgeon of pursuing an unlawful “wildcat” referendum.
Craig Hoy, the party’s chair, said: “Nicola Sturgeon has come close to endorsing a plan to push ahead with an illegal vote and Angus Robertson doubled down on that today.
“This reckless push for another referendum will damage Scotland when all the focus should be on Covid recovery and the global cost-of-living crisis.”
The latest Ipsos MORI poll on Scottish independence from May 23 to May 29, surveying 1,000, saw ‘no’ at 46 percent and ‘yes’ at 45 percent, with eight percent saying they were undecided.
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