June 29, 2017

'No UK Prime Minister should dare stand in way of Scotland's democracy'

18 March 2017, 03:44 | Clarence Schmidt

If Holyrood on Wednesday backs Ms Sturgeon's bid for a fresh ballot when the terms of the UK's Brexit deal are known, it would be "undemocratic and totally unacceptable" for this to be denied by Westminster, he said.

"Neither is there public or political support for such a referendum".

He added: "The truth is it should not be for either Theresa May or the Scottish Government to decide Scotland's future - that choice belongs to the parliament and the people of Scotland, and it is one this party will never shy away from". She said Britain stands on the threshold of one of the most significant moments the country has known for many years.

A source close to the First Minister insisted that Mrs May would eventually have to engage in some sort of negotiation with the Scottish Government over the timing of a referendum.

The problem is that Theresa May, and her Scottish Secretary David Mundell, have both said they won't even discuss the issue.

In an interview with the BBC, Sturgeon made further overtures to May to work out an alternative timetable for the referendum. "The only question is what kind of change". It ensures that the path of our country will be determined, not by us, but for us.

In an escalation of the war of words, the PM told Tory activists in Cardiff, that the First Minister and her party were in a "muddle" and warned the break up of the United Kingdom would be "bad for us all".

Sturgeon told ITV News that if that gambit failed, "I have got various options that I would consider but with the greatest of respect I'm not going to share them with you right now".

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"Many of the people who voted for the European Union, are against independence and vice versa, including very big figures in the SNP".

On the other hand the Prime Minister, and the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, believe that they have what might be called the silent majority of Scots on their side. And during this week, I asked her three times when she would reach that agreement with the Scottish government before triggering Article 50.

Mr Swinney said it would then be up to Mrs May to "recognise the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland".

May said "now is not the time" to reopen Scotland's independence debate, though she did not rule out a referendum in the future.

Mrs May said on Friday: "It is now clear that using Brexit as the pretext to engineer a second independence referendum has been the SNP's sole objective ever since last June".

"The SNP argue that we should break up the United Kingdom because we are leaving the European Union, but three years ago they campaigned for a result that would have taken Scotland out of the European Union altogether", she said.

While further comment must await developments in the intervening fortnight ~ till the end of March ~ the government can not but be unnerved by Ms Sturgeon flagging the demand for a second vote of Scottish independence. after voters in Scotland had opposed Brexit on June 23 a year ago.

GORDON BROWN will call for Holyrood to be handed a raft of new powers after Brexit as part of a "third option" for Scotland's future.

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