Sturgeon shamed in fiery TV interview over SNP’s plot to rush through independence

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Nicola Sturgeon has been shamed for pushing ahead with SNP plans to hold an independence referendum next year. Speaking with ITV’s Representing Border programme, Ms Sturgeon said she hopes a second independence referendum will be held in the early part of the next parliament. This prompted a fiery backlash from host Peter MacMahon, who listed the other crises facing Scotland.

The Scottish First Minister said: “I’ve not put a date on it yet.

“I think it’s right not least because the challenges this country is facing as we come out of this and rebuild, that Scotland should have the opportunity to choose whether or not to become independent in the earlier rather than later part of the next parliament.”

Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the SNP will outline a “precise timeline” for the referendum in their manifesto leading up to next year’s Holyrood elections.

Mr MacMahon took issue with Ms Sturgeon’s response, claiming that Scotland could be battling to save its economy at a time when the SNP are focused on a referendum.

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He said: “People watching this will see you haven’t ruled out having a second independence referendum sometime next year.

“This is when, as you’ve just said, you could be handling the aftermath of Covid.

“It could be vaccines, it could be health waiting lists, it could be the economy trying to recover and you’re saying on top of all of that we should have an independence referendum.”

Ms Sturgeon hit back: “Do we want the big decision to continue to be taken by Westminster Governments that seem to have very different priorities to Scotland, or do we want to be steered and guided by a Scottish Government?”

Mr MacMahon pointed out “that could be an argument for the middle of the term, not next year when you’re still dealing with Covid”.

This comes as the SNP leader’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic falls under increased scrutiny.

Former BBC presenter Andrew Neil tweeted on Thursday that Ms Sturgeon refuses to mention “weeks of official statistics that suggest proportionately more people have been dying of coronavirus in Scotland than in England”.

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In a separate interview with the BBC, Ms Sturgeon insisted that the UK Government’s current opposition to indyref2 was unsustainable.

The interviews took place ahead of the SNP’s virtual conference which opens on Saturday and concludes on Monday with her leader’s speech.

The UK Government has repeatedly said it would refuse to grant the consent that Ms Sturgeon has demanded for a referendum.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has said there should not be another referendum for “25 or 40 years”.

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