Tories try to block In­dyRef2

Pol­i­tics: But SNP mo­tion ex­pected to pass with sup­port of Green Party

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY KIERAN AN­DREWS

Con­ser­va­tive MSPs will use a crunch Holy­rood vote to try to push back a se­cond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum un­til af­ter April 2019.

The Scot­tish Par­lia­ment will host a two-day de­bate on whether or not to re­quest a sec­tion 30 or­der, re­quired to hold a legally valid bal­lot on the con­sti­tu­tion, from UK min­is­ters.

De­spite be­ing in mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, it is ex­pected that the SNP’s mo­tion will pass with sup­port from the Scot­tish Greens af­ter Wed­nes­day night’s di­vi­sion.

Ev­ery other party is op­posed to a re­turn to the polls, though, with Ruth David­son’s politi­cians tabling an amend­ment that calls for a de­lay to First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon’s timetable.

Ms Stur­geon wants to hold a se­cond ref­er­en­dum be­tween au­tumn 2018 and spring 2019 to co­in­cide with the ex­pected end of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ms David­son said: “At a time when we should be com­ing to­gether as a coun­try, it is the wrong course of ac­tion to take.”

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May has ruled out even dis­cussing the SNP’s timescale, say­ing “now is not the time” to go back to the polls.

Ms Stur­geon ar­gued that Mrs May will be block­ing the “sov­er­eign right of the peo­ple of Scot­land” if she re­fuses to re­verse her po­si­tion fol­low­ing the vote. The SNP leader said: “If MSPs pass this mo­tion this week, then the prime min­is­ter’s po­si­tion of block­ing a ref­er­en­dum and forc­ing through a hard Brexit with­out giv­ing the peo­ple a choice will be demo­crat­i­cally in­de­fen­si­ble. The sov­er­eign right of the peo­ple of Scot­land to de­ter­mine the form of gov­ern­ment best suited to their needs is a long-stand­ing and widely-ac­cepted prin­ci­ple.”

Labour pointed out the SNP has ig­nored par­lia­men­tary votes on five oc­ca­sions since the 2016 elec­tion. Party leader Kezia Dug­dale said MSPs have backed, among other is­sues, keep­ing the High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise Board to no ac­tion from min­is­ters.

She added: “Ni­cola Stur­geon wakes up ev­ery sin­gle day think­ing of ways to en­gi­neer an­other ref­er­en­dum be­cause leav­ing the UK is the only thing that mat­ters to her.”

Ni­cola Stur­geon will lead a de­bate on re­quest­ing an or­der needed to hold a bal­lot

Ruth David­son

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