John Swinney grilled by host on 'independence strategy'
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The Scottish Conservatives accused the SNP of “taking its eye off the ball” with its new bid for independence amid soaring coronavirus cases. Work on a second referendum had been halted during the pandemic but the First Minister announced yesterday that it is set to start again.
And Scotland’s Health Secretary John Swinney today admitted the Scottish Government is not “100 percent focused” on the recovery from Covid.
The Deputy First Minister was quizzed during an appearance on Good Morning Scotland about work restarting on Scottish independence despite the pandemic not being over.
Mr Swinney said: “I hate to break this news to you but not absolutely everybody in the Scottish Government has been 100 percent focused on Covid recovery.
“There are other policy questions on agriculture, on fisheries, on wider environmental questions, on transport and all sorts of things.”
Responding to Mr Swinney’s comments, Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, Murdo Fraser, blasted the bid for independence.
The MSP said: “The SNP Government is taking its eye off the ball while Covid cases hit record numbers and we are facing an economic crisis.
“When he was grilled about the SNP’s plan to push for another divisive referendum, John Swinney admitted that the nationalist coalition is not fully focused on Covid recovery.
“His attempt to deflect by referencing other key areas of concern was laughable.
“Everyone accepts that the government should work on Covid recovery in the policy areas that John Swinney brought up, like agriculture, fisheries, the environment and transport.
“But it infuriates people when the SNP think another divisive referendum is more important than those policy areas, our economy, NHS and public services.
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“Most Scottish people think it’s a disgraceful waste of time and resource for civil servants to be off trying to drum up a case for indyref2 when we have so many challenges to tackle.
“The SNP Government is putting independence first, ahead of the real priorities of working people across Scotland.
“They are risking Scotland’s Covid recovery by shifting their focus more and more towards separating Scotland.”
Ms Sturgeon on Tuesday announced the Scottish Government is to restart work on a “detailed prospectus” for independence ahead of a second referendum on the future of the UK.
The SNP leader made the announcement in her Programme for Government, setting out her Government’s plans for the coming months and years.
The First Minister said: “Our democratic mandate to allow people, not politicians, to decide the country’s future is beyond question.”
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