Nicola Sturgeon announces planned date for second referendum
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Nicola Sturgeon is using Brexit to scramble support for Scottish independence, a pollster has said. Sir John Curtice told Express.co.uk the Scottish First Minister has presented Scotland with a choice between “being inside the UK and outside the EU, or being outside the UK but inside the EU”. The pollster said this choice was made clear in Ms Sturgeon’s latest independence paper, which outlined economic and currency plans for a Scotland outside of the Union.
The paper included a proposal on re-joining the EU for access to the Single Market, making it clear that reversing Brexit is key to the SNP’s independence vision.
Speaking about the white paper, which was unveiled last week, Sir John said: “We know that peoples’ concerns about the economic consequences for independence were central to how many people voted back in 2014.
“But of course what the white paper now also makes clear, this isn’t simply a referendum about independence.
“It is also a referendum about Brexit, and that the choice that Scotland is now being presented with is between being inside the UK and outside the EU, or being outside the UK but inside the EU.
“We can see the Scottish Government beginning to make the case for the latter – and also beginning to be upfront about the fact that this is going to be a debate about the relative merits of trade-offs.”
Speaking about the paper, the Scottish First Minister said that the UK Government “cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests”.
She added: “In 2014, we were promised stability if we voted no to independence.
“Since then, we have been subjected to one serious political crisis after another – all as a result of policies and decisions that Scotland did not vote for.”
Ms Sturgeon said “independence is now essential” in order to “prevent further economic damage being inflicted by Westminster Governments”.
She said Brexit has made the UK even more “ill-equipped to cope with events like the cost of living crisis”.
Ahead of the speech, the First Minister said the country had an “abundance of skilled people, innovative businesses, and natural resources”.
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But the SNP leader warned: “Scotland’s economy is one of the best performing in the UK – however, the UK economy, particularly post-Brexit, is now lagging behind many EU and international comparators.
“The UK economic model is demonstrably failing and increasingly holding Scotland back. Independence is now essential to build an economy that works for everyone.”
She added: “The UK is poorer than independent European countries comparable to Scotland. It has a lower national income per head, wider inequality and lower productivity. The UK looks like an outlier. Brexit, of course, has turbocharged this. Over time, Brexit will wipe billions of pounds from the Scottish economy.”
The paper is the latest release in the Building a New Scotland series.
But Ms Sturgeon was blasted by political rivals, with the plans branded “utterly shambolic”.
Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservative’s finance spokesman, said the SNP had “never been able to make a convincing economic case for independence, and this paper doesn’t change that”.
She said: “Nationalists are consistently unable to address the big questions that the public want answered about independence – on currency, on pensions and about how a hard border would impact our trade with the rest of the UK.”
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