Client state of Brussels! Sturgeons independence dream skewered over EU bid

Keir Starmer claims Nicola Sturgeon is pitting Scot against Scot

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Scotland’s First Minister has said she wants a legal, constitutional referendum on Scottish independence. She announced on Tuesday a new Bill is to be published at Holyrood for a consultative vote on October 19, 2023.

The announcement has been greeted with derision from political commentators, including Brexit supporter Darren Grimes.

The GB News presenter tweeted: “Nicola Sturgeon wants to put the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ to Scottish voters again, only, that’s not what she’s really asking them.

“In leaving the UK, Scotland would become a client state of Brussels. How does that look anything like ‘independence’?”

Ms Sturgeon opposes Brexit and has argued Scottish voters have the right to choose their country’s future as an independent country and rejoin the EU.

The Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader accused the Conservatives of fearing democracy during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (June 29).

Ian Blackford MP asked the Commons why the UK Government is scared of democracy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out a second vote on Scottish independence, saying the focus should be on building a stronger economy.

But political opponents have savaged the push for another independence referendum.

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Deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, Martin Daubney slammed Mr Blackford’s remarks on Twitter.

He wrote: “‘Why is the UK Government scared of democracy?’ says [Ian Blackford MP] who tried – and failed, for four years – to cancel Brexit, the biggest democratic vote in British Parliamentary history.”

Labour shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray said: “Yesterday was nothing more than an attempt by the First Minister to deflect from her horrendous record in Government and to hinder the prospect of a future Labour Government that replaces {Boris Johnson’s]. That’s what she fears the most.

“The only thing that matters to Nicola Sturgeon is, of course, independence, not soaring NHS waiting times, hungry children, drug deaths, increasing poverty, widening educational attainment, or Scots worried about their bills.”

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Ms Sturgeon said in her announcement that she would use the next Westminster election as a “de-facto referendum” on Scottish independence if Holyrood is prevented from holding another vote on leaving the UK.

But that has been challenged by a politics expert.

Professor James Mitchell, from Edinburgh University, said: “There’s no such thing as a de facto referendum.

“An election is simply not a referendum, a de-facto referendum or any other kind of referendum.”

He was speaking as Scotland’s Deputy First Minister was forced to clarify remarks on what would be necessary for a General Election to give the Scottish Government a mandate to start independence negotiations.

John Swinney initially suggested this could happen if the SNP won a majority of Scottish MPs at the next UK election.

However, he later backtracked on Twitter, saying he misheard the interviewer’s question, making clear “nothing else” but a majority of votes would do.

Mr Swinney explained when he had been asked whether negotiations could start if his party wins a majority of Scottish constituencies, he “only picked up on ‘majority’.”

He added: “Referenda, including de facto referenda at a UK General Election, are won with a majority of votes. Nothing else.”

Prof Mitchell questioned plans to use the next Westminster vote in this way, insisting it was “not for a political party to dictate the terms of an election”.

Speaking to ITV, he said: “There are elections and referendums and they are quite distinct.

“In an election, the vote is allowed to choose what he or she wishes to choose to determine their vote. It doesn’t have to be about one issue – it is rarely about one issue – but about a range of issues.

“It is not for a political party to dictate the terms of an election.

“In a referendum the question is very clear, that is the whole point of a referendum, it is focused. There isn’t the same focus in an election.”

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