Unbelievable! SNP shamed over plans for independence vote next year despite COVID crisis

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The SNP’s constitutional spokesman, Mike Russell, claimed a second vote could be held next year if the party wins a majority in the 2021 Holyrood election. Mr Russell also said legislation on a second referendum would be published before the election in May. However, with the huge number of jobs at risk in Scotland and the economic uncertainty across the UK, Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross criticised the move from the SNP.

Mr Russell said: “We’ve said if the Scottish people endorsed that and wish it to happen then it must happen.

“And I’m not going to do anything other than assume that it will happen in those circumstances.

“If the Scottish people speak then they have to be heard.

“And there will need to be a referendum. And, you know, that could take place, I’m quite sure, before the end of next year.”

Mr Ross said in response: “This crisis is far from over. Around 100,000 jobs are at risk and businesses are closing right now, some of them for good.

“The immediate priority of people across Scotland is fighting this pandemic and saving jobs.

“Unbelievably, the architect of the SNP’s Referendum Bill is calling for another independence referendum as early as next year.

“It’s staggering that they would even contemplate dragging the country through that at the moment.

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“In less than 14 months’ time, they would have Scotland divided and distracted from the huge challenges we’re facing.

“When they should be focussed on Scottish jobs, the SNP Government are in danger of losing the plot.

“SNP ministers need to leave the Holyrood bubble and get out in the real world where jobs and businesses are under threat.”

The UK Government, however, has refused to give Holyrood any further money required to put forward a legally-binding referendum.

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Previously, Boris Johnson has claimed Scotland has already held a once in a lifetime vote in 2014, where 55 to 45 percent voted against independence.

It comes after a leaked memo suggested ways the UK Government could try to halt Ms Sturgeon’s referendum bid.

The strategy document was leaked on Monday and analysed how Westminster could try to handle the threat of Scottish independence.

The document prepared by Hanbury Strategy highlighted the “vacuum of leadership” within the unionist movement.

The memo warned: “If the SNP builds on this momentum, then the endpoint could be a full-blown constitutional crisis or a second independence referendum.

“Either of these outcomes would consume significant political capital for the government.”

When pressed on the strategy, No 10 said they had not seen the memo and declined to comment it any further, but added: “Both sides committed very clearly to respecting the decision in 2014 and the First Minister promised it would be a once-in-a-generation vote and the UK Government will continue to uphold that decisive decision.

“What we’re focused on is a strong UK-wide response to coronavirus and ensuring that all parts of the UK can build back better in response.”

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