SNP ac­cused of ‘let­ting the cat out the bag’ over any fu­ture ref­er­en­dum

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West MP, Mar­garet Ferrier has come un­der fire af­ter ask­ing if the UK Gov­ern­ment had con­tin­gency plans in place for another in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

Ms Ferrier, who is the SNP’s spokesper­son for the Scot­tish Of­fice, sub­mit­ted the writ­ten ques­tion to the Sec­re­tary of State for Scot­land, David Mun­dell MP, on July 17.

It asked: “what con­tin­gency plans his Depart­ment has pre­pared for the pos­si­bil­ity of a fur­ther ref­er­en­dum on Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence be­ing the pol­icy of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment af­ter the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tion in 2016.”

The ques­tion has been seized on by po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents who claim the SNP are plot­ting another ref­er­en­dum on Scot­tish In­de­pen­dence.

Ruther­glen MSP, James Kelly, said Ms Ferrier had “let the cat out of the bag.”

He said: “It is out­ra­geous that nine months af­ter a demo­cratic vote where a clear ma­jor­ity in the coun­try voted against sep­a­ra­tion Mar­garet Ferrier thinks that the Scot­land Of­fice should be pre­par­ing for another ref­er­en­dum

“Ni­cola Stur­geon’s said be­fore she has no plans for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, but Mar­garet Ferrier’s re­cent com­ments look like she has let the cat out of the bag.

“Few peo­ple will buy the SNP’s claims that they’re not fo­cussing on in­de­pen­dence.

“The re­al­ity is that right now, peo­ple in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang are frus­trated with missed NHS wait­ing times and cuts to col­lege places, not another con­sti­tu­tional de­bate.”

Coun­cil­lor Robert Brown, who rep­re­sents Ruther­glen South for the Lib­eral Demo­crat, also crit­i­cised Ms Ferrier, say­ing: “It re­ally is time for the MP to move on from the ref­er­en­dum.

“The SNP wanted a ref­er­en­dum, they got one, they de­layed it by sev­eral years to try to get a bet­ter re­sult and they still lost.

“The peo­ple of Scot­land voted de­ci­sively in favour of stay­ing in the United King­dom. That seems pretty clear to me.

“I would urge Mar­garet Ferrier to get be­hind re­form of the United King­dom along fed­eral lines as Lib­eral Democrats have long urged.”

Twit­ter users also crit­i­cised the ques­tion when it was posted on Mon­day night, but some folk were sup­port­ive of the MP.

One user wrote: “It’s do­ing more dam­age to the peo­ple of Scot­land with all this Indy talk. Move on and work to­gether!”

But another said: “can’t hap­pen soon enough! Are you all blind to the dam­age UK Govt is do­ing?”

A spokesper­son for Ms Ferrier’s of­fice said: “As the SNP’s Spokesper­son on the Scot­land Of­fice, it is for Mar­garet to scru­ti­nise the ac­tiv­i­ties of that of­fice.

“The Tories have voted down ev­ery sin­gle amend­ment to the Scot­land Bill, and are at­tempt­ing to force through English Votes for English Laws, de­spite hav­ing only one MP in Scot­land.

“The SNP are not plan­ning another ref­er­en­dum. The other main par­ties have warned that the Tories risk caus­ing a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, and it is en­tirely rea­son­able for Mar­garet to ask if the Tories are plan­ning for one.”

An SNP spokesper­son added: “The tim­ing of any fu­ture ref­er­en­dum is en­tirely a mat­ter for the peo­ple of Scot­land to de­cide - the peo­ple, not politi­cians, are in charge at ev­ery stage of the process.”

Hav­ing your say South La­nark­shire voted against in­de­pen­dence last year in the ref­er­en­dum

SNP Mar­garet Ferrier MP has asked if the UK Gov­ern­ment had con­tin­gency plans in place for another in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum

Lib­eral Demo­crat Coun­cil­lor Robert Brown says the SNP need to move on from last year’s ref­er­en­dum

Labour Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly says the cat is out of the bag on the SNP’s plans for another ref­er­en­dum

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