Sturgeon praises Queen on Platinum Jubilee as SNP MP attends anti-monarchy conference

Nicola Sturgeon 'locking Scotland in fear' says Melville

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The Scottish First Minister has broken ranks with other members of the SNP to publicly praise the 96-year-old monarch. Platinum Jubilee celebrations kickstarted in London yesterday with the Irish Guards leading the Trooping of the Colour. However, Ms Sturgeon appeared to reaffirm the SNP’s commitment to retain the Royal Family in the case Scotland ever obtains independence.

The Glasgow MSP also defied coalition colleagues from the Green Party after Patrick Harvie’s party boycotted a Holyrood debate which celebrated the Platinum Jubilee.

Ms Sturgeon said: “There are different opinions across the UK on the institution of monarchy, that’s right and proper.

“We should celebrate the fact we live in a democracy where those differences can be expressed.

“You don’t have to be a great supporter of the monarchy – I’m not talking about me here – to have huge respect for the Queen and to think of her as a quite extraordinary individual to whom everybody across the UK and the Commonwealth owes a deep debt of gratitude.”

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Ms Sturgeon also said she would “always cherish” the hours of one-on-one conversation she’d had with the Queen.

She added: “That opportunity to talk with her, to benefit from her knowledge, her wisdom, and perhaps above all, the completely unique perspective she has on modern world history is something that I deeply value and will always really treasure.”

However, the role of the monarchy has proved a controversial topic north of the border, particularly among pro-independence ranks.

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard was even listed to speak at an “international anti-monarchy conference” organised by pressure group Republic.

The event will take place on Saturday when a huge concert will take place at Buckingham Palace and will include representatives from Jamaica, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada and the UK.

Other SNP MPs, including Alyn Smith, have also called for Scots to hold a poll on the monarchy if the nation voted for independence.

In 2016, the Stirling MP said: “I want to see the people of Scotland in charge of Scotland’s future, so once we regain independence I would be up for a referendum on the subject and the people will choose, but let’s do it after independence so we can have a proper debate about the subject in its own right.”

Ms Sturgeon’s SNP colleagues in Holyrood have even suggested they would be willing to work with republicans in Sinn Fein to challenge the UK Government.

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Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I think what it would mean is we would have political leadership in Northern Ireland which was prepared to challenge the United Kingdom Government on many aspects of its policy approach.”

The ex-Tayside North MP added: “There’s an opportunity for us to work together to pressurise the UK Government to ensure that they address the very real difficulties that people are facing in their lives today, particularly around the cost of living and to have an intervention that actually addresses the depth of the crisis that people are facing.”

While Her Majesty is also prevented from engaging publicly in the country’s politics, the Queen did tell voters to “think very carefully about the future” ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

According to YouGov, Scotland is also less supportive of the monarchy compared to any other region of Great Britain.

Pollsters found just 47 percent of Scots want to keep the monarchy and 32 percent would opt for a republic.

The gap was much narrower than when compared to the UK as a whole.

London was only marginally more supportive, with the monarchy opening up a 17 percent lead over a republic.

However, almost two-thirds of respondents in the rest of the south, Midlands, Wales and the north want to keep the monarchy.

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