Nicola Sturgeon slammed by former MSP on IndyRed2
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The First Minister launched a campaign for another vote on Scottish independence at Bute House on Tuesday (June 14). Ms Sturgeon insisted there is a strong and compelling case for Scotland to leave the UK as she outlined the first in a series of papers aimed at presenting a fresh case for independence.
Ms Sturgeon said she would be frank about the challenges a border between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK would pose.
It was put to her that there would be a hard border between Scotland and the rest of the UK if an independent Scotland were to re-join the EU.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Of course we will confront the implications of Brexit, which of course is not something the Scottish Government has chosen, but does – you’re right to say – present different challenges around these issues.”
She said Scotland would stay in the Common Travel Area, adding: “But the issues in terms of regulatory and customs issues around goods, we’ve got to work out how that operates in a way that would fulfil the requirements that would be on us in terms of European Union membership.
“We need to set out how we would deal with that in a way that isn’t damaging to the south of Scotland and isn’t damaging to businesses.”
She added: “I’m not going to shy away from any of these issues – I think the benefits of Scotland being independent far outweigh any of these challenges – but how we overcome the challenges is important and we have a duty to set that out clearly.
“And the future work in this series will do that.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells mocked the First Minister’s response on Twitter, saying: “Comforting to hear Sturgeon say she won’t “shy away” from challenges resulting from a border between Scotland and England.
“If all else fails, at least a hard border will create some jobs?!”
The First Minister was also asked if there would be a trade border between Scotland and England and if she would be frank with voters about the implications of this.
She said: “I am not going to repeat the mistakes of Boris Johnson and pretend that implications of the decisions we take don’t exist.”
Ms Sturgeon continued: “I will be frank. I’ve said very clearly, there will be customs and regulatory issues on trade if we are in the single market.
“I think the benefits of being in the single market outweigh the challenges there.
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“What I’m saying to you very frankly is we need to set out how those challenges will be met.”
Ms Sturgeon claimed there is an “indisputable” mandate for holding a second referendum, pledging a “significant update” in the near future on how such a vote could be held if the UK Government continues to oppose it.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond challenged his successor to make clear how she will “bend Westminster to the will of the Scottish Parliament”.
He said before the launch that without detail on how the UK Government could be made to change its mind and give the green light to another referendum, any debate about Scotland’s future would take place in a “constitutional vacuum”.
Ms Sturgeon would not confirm when a vote would happen during appearances on BBC Scotland’s The Nine and STV News At Six on Monday.
She said: “I will say more about that in the weeks to come. There’s two issues – two principles, in fact – that are really important in this.
“Democracy is the first. Scottish people gave my party, my Government, a mandate for an independence referendum in the election last year. I intend to honour that.
“The second principle that is really important is rule of law. Any process has to be lawful and legal.”
Political opponents lashed out at the plans, accusing the SNP of focusing on a single issue.
Scottish Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy told The Nine: “They have a mandate to do a lot of things but they’re not doing it.
“They have a mandate to end the waiting times crisis in the NHS, to get more people into employment in the NHS, to pay public sector workers properly and to end child poverty.
“They’ve a mandate for all of these things. But the SNP, as they always do, is choosing only to focus on the one mandate that they care about, and that’s independence.”
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