Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plans ‘damaging’ says Hamilton
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In an application to the Electoral Commission which overseas UK elections, the Nationalists applied to have “Vote SNP for Indyref2” and “Both Votes SNP for Indyref2” on the papers. The application has also asked to register “Nicola Sturgeon for SNP First Minister” as part of the campaign.
It comes as Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said a draft independence bill would be issued within days.
Mr Russell said today it was up to Scottish voters in May to decide if they want a new say on the country’s future.
A draft referendum Bill was promised in the legislative programme First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out last year.
The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government for 2020/21 said: “Before the end of this Parliament, we will publish a draft Bill for an independence referendum – setting out the terms of a future referendum clearly and unambiguously to the people of Scotland.”
Last month, the SNP also released an 11-point “roadmap” to an independence referendum – setting out that a ballot could take place if May’s Holyrood elections result in a pro-independence majority, even if Westminster refuses to grant a Section 30 order.
The party plans to force the UK Government into a legal challenge if a Section 30 order is not granted.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK ministers have ruled out the prospect of a second independence vote.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the SNP are “dividing Scotland with their push for indyref2.”
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The Moray MP said: “Their campaign slogans are all about indyref2.
“They don’t even mention rebuilding Scotland or recovering from Covid-19.
“Their priority is clear – indyref2 at all costs. It’s the height of recklessness that shows an extreme disregard for Scotland’s recovery efforts.
“Scotland wants to get out of this health and economic crisis but the SNP are pushing an indyref2 bill that would drag us right back into another crisis.”
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Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, added: “This tells you everything you need to know about Nicola Sturgeon’s priorities.
“The SNP could have prioritised recovery, health, education or jobs on the ballot paper, but it has chosen division.
“This astonishing decision means that voters will have it in black and white on the ballot paper – the SNP’s only focus is a divisive second referendum.”
During a visit to Glasgow yesterday to unveil plans to move 1,000 civil service jobs to the city, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told the Express that Scottish independence was a “distraction.”
He said: “We’ve been clear that the most important thing at the moment is to focus on our health recovery and our economic recovery.
“It seems to me that talk of an independence referendum is just a momentous distraction from that.”
The latest Scottish independence polling undertaken by Panelbase found only 25 percent of Scots supported holding a referendum in the next 12 months.
30 percent said they would support a referendum in the next two to five years while 45 percent agreed with the statement “there should not be another Scottish independence referendum in the next few years”.
The poll also found support for a Yes vote stood at 46 percent, with No on 47 percent.
When “don’t knows” are excluded, this put the weighted support for both Yes and No at 50 percent each.
A total of 1,013 Scottish adults were polled online between March 3 and 5.
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