Political and business chiefs unite to warn against Indyref
BUSINESS and political leaders yesterday joined forces to demand the SNP rule out a second vote on separation for at least four years.
As the Nationalists gather in Glasgow today for their autumn conference, they were urged to focus on running the country.
The calls come as pollster Professor John Curtice predicted that Nicola Sturgeon may be secretly planning to ‘kick independence into the long grass’.
The First Minister will speak on the event’s final day on Tuesday.
Colin Borland, head of devolved nations at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘There will be lots of things small businesses want to hear, but talk of an independence referendum is unlikely to head the list.’
CBI Scotland director Hugh Aitken added: ‘Focus must be on boosting the economy... [and] getting on with implementing the Barclay Review recommendations on business rates.’
Senior politicians also urged Miss Sturgeon to forget a vote. Scottish Secretary David Mundell said Scotland needs ‘stability’ to ‘focus on domestic issues and the challenge of Brexit’.
Scottish Labour leader Alex Rowley said people have ‘had enough of constitutional debate while hospitals and schools suffer’, while Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie asked Miss Sturgeon to ‘commit to no Indyref 2 until after the 2021 election, at least’.
He added: ‘Give businesses a degree of stability [and] parliament the time and space to debate real issues like education.’
Miss Sturgeon has agreed not to push for a separation vote until after Brexit terms are known.
But Professor Curtice, a political expert at Strathclyde University, said: ‘[She may] focus on the possibility of a second EU referendum rather than independence. Such a move would enable her to kick it into the long grass.’
Yesterday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the SNP ‘will continue to make the strong case for Scotland to have in our own hands all the powers we need to build an even better country’.