Murdo Fraser MSP has asked a SNP Government Minister if he expects the public to believe their “nonsensical stance” on what constitutes a mandate for another vote on independence.
The Scottish Conservative politician recently raised the matter with the Minister for Independence, Jamie Hepburn MSP, during a Portfolio question session on the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture at the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Fraser, who is the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, Economic Growth and Tourism, asked the Minister whether the SNP Government will provide an update on any work that its Constitution Futures Division is doing to further the case for Scottish independence. In his reply, Mr Hepburn acknowledged that civil servants continue to work to support the SNP Government’s ‘Programme for Government,’ which includes working on the case for independence.
Commenting, Mr Fraser said: “We need to know just what the SNP’s actual policy is on why they should get to hold another vote on independence. Firstly, the SNP said they need a majority of votes cast in the General Election to do so. Then they said they need the most seats in the Election. I think their latest view is that they just need to get a majority of seats in the General Election.
“So, they are effectively saying that even if the SNP lost 20 seats in a General Election - losing seats to the Conservatives, losing seats to Labour and even losing seats to the Liberal Democrats - that they would take that as a mandate for independence. Do they really expect people to take this nonsense seriously?”
Mr Fraser continued: “I know the SNP has been in rapid freefall since former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stepped down from her post back in February. We then heard that her successor, Humza Yousaf, had dumped her ridiculous ‘de facto referendum’ plan. However, it seems that the SNP Government are now all over the place with what they deem sufficient to give them a mandate for Scottish independence.
“It is abundantly clear that the SNP Government will use the next General Election to have a proxy vote on independence and no other issue is going to get a look-in at the election. They are hellbent on focusing on breaking up the United Kingdom despite all the challenges facing Scotland right now such as the cost-of-living crisis, NHS waiting times, cuts to emergency services and falling school standards.
“They need to wake up and realise that voters have made it clear they don't want another independence referendum – the people of Scotland want the SNP Government to focus on the priorities of the electorate, not embark on a nonsensical stance on how they can hold another vote on independence.”