Politics

Nicola Sturgeon’s Brexit case for Scottish independence dismantled as SNP issued warning

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Nicola Sturgeon has been pushing for a second referendum on Scottish independence despite 55.3 percent of Scots voting to remain in the union in 2014. The SNP leader claims the circumstances surrounding Brexit have given her a fresh mandate to call another vote on Scottish independence. But the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, has explained the UK takes 68 percent of Scottish exports unlike the European Union which takes only 19 percent. Giving his keynote speech with the Policy Exchange UK, Mr Ross said: “In the 2014 independence referendum, 55 percent of voters were against leaving the UK and in 2016, 52 percent of voters were in favour of leaving the European Union.

“In a democracy, we respect the outcomes of both referendums.

“Then there are economic arguments. The rest of the UK is a destination for 68 percent of Scottish exports, supporting over half a million jobs.

“In comparison, the EU is a recipient of only 19 percent of our trade.

“The UK is also worth £10billion in additional public spending in Scotland.

“While Scotland is a net contributor to the EU.

“Yet these practical arguments do not address the emotional disconnect that a person in Edinburgh who voted no and Remain felt when they saw the celebrations in London on January 31 or the frustration that they feel when the UK Government continues to prepare for no deal while seeking to deliver a new partnership with the EU.

“Instead of taking pride in the decision they took in 2014, there are people who have begun to question it.”

His comments come as SNP politicians pushing for the party to adopt a “Plan B” for securing independence said they were “bitterly disappointed” that their alternative approach will not be debated at next month’s conference.

Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny has been pushing for the move, together with Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil.

The pair want the manifesto for next year’s Holyrood elections to include a pledge that winning a pro-independence majority would be grounds to start negotiations with Westminster for Scotland to leave the UK.

But Mr McEleny said: “I’m bitterly disappointed that SNP members won’t be allowed to debate a plan designed to allow us take Scotland’s future into our own hands at next year’s Holyrood elections – whether the UK Government like it or not.”

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Veteran SNP MP Pete Wishart said excluding the issue for debate was a “mistake”.

He tweeted: “We need this damaging debate concluded so we can unite around an agreed way forward.”

Mr McEleny and Mr MacNeil had hoped their alternative approach would be discussed at the SNP conference in June – but the event was cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With a virtual conference now scheduled to be held at the end of November, they then hoped to win support for the idea there.

But they said SNP activists had been “denied the right to debate the party’s independence strategy” and were instead being offered an open mic session – which would not set party policy.

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