Chal­lenge to new indy vote

Haughey urged to dis­miss poll

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special - Dou­glas Dickie

Ruther­glen’s Lib­eral Demo­crat can­di­date has chal­lenged his SNP op­po­nent to make a per­sonal com­mit­ment to rule out sup­port­ing an­other in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum for at least the term of the next Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

Robert Brown said the is­sue was cre­at­ing “un­nec­es­sary doubt and un­cer­tainty” and was cre­at­ing up­set for lo­cal peo­ple.

Call­ing on Clare Haughey to rule out an­other vote, he said the prospect of a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum so soon af­ter the first was a “demo­cratic ab­sur­dity”.

He said: “My very strong view is that it is time to move on to deal with the back­log of prob­lems left by the SNP govern­ment – the cri­sis in GP num­bers, the 152,000 cut in places at Scot­land’s col­leges and the fall­ing stan­dards in Scot­land’s schools.

“The SNP seem to have been frozen to the spot on th­ese mat­ters – the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment has fresh, new tax pow­ers but they refuse to use them.

“They should be join­ing the Lib­eral Democrats in aim­ing to in­vest in trans­for­ma­tion change in ed­u­ca­tion.

“Clare Haughey could help here by mak­ing a per­sonal com­mit­ment that, if she was elected, she would not back an­other ref­er­en­dum dur­ing the term of the new Scot­tish Par­lia­ment. The fouryear term of the par­lia­ment is hardly the ‘de­ci­sion for a gen­er­a­tion’ promised by the SNP but it would be a help­ful step.”

How­ever, Ms Haughey said it was those who op­posed an­other ref­er­en­dum who were “un­demo­cratic”.

Hit­ting back, she said: “I ac­cept the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum, and ac­knowl­edge that there should only be an­other one if there is clear and sus­tained ev­i­dence that a ma­jor­ity of peo­ple sup­port in­de­pen­dence.

“It is not in the gift of any politi­cian to refuse a ref­er­en­dum if there is a de­mand. What Robert Brown is propos­ing is thor­oughly un­demo­cratic.

“The SNP are mov­ing for­ward with our pro­gres­sive and am­bi­tious plan for Scot­land, some­thing Mr Brown’s party seem to lack.

“Peo­ple haven’t forgotten that the Lib Dems be­trayed peo­ple over tu­ition fees, or that they only man­aged to build six coun­cil houses in Scot­land dur­ing their last term in coali­tion with Labour at Holy­rood.

“It’s no won­der the Lib Dem can­di­date for the area lost his de­posit in last year’s gen­eral elec­tion.”

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