The Scotsman

Sturgeon urged to rule out Indyref2

● Davidson says First Minister must attempt to ‘reset her time in office’


Nicola Sturgeon is being urged to “wipe the slate clean and start again” by using a major Holyrood setpiece statement to rule out holding a second independen­ce referendum.

Scottish Conservati­ve leader Ruth Davidson made the plea ahead of the First Minister announcing her Programme for Government when MSPS return to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The SNP leader has already revealed she will bring forward 12 pieces of legislatio­n in the coming parliament­ary year, pledging “ambitious” proposals that will build on the “radical” initiative­s she has already introduced.

In the next 12 months, Ms Sturgeon said her ministers would “intensify our focus on improving the wealth and the wellbeing of communitie­s across Scotland”.

0 Nicola Sturgeon will set out her next Programme for Government at Holyrood tomorrow

She also said the country had a “real chance to lead the world into the low carbon age”, highlighti­ng the existing commitment to phase out

petrol and diesel cars by 2032, eight years earlier than the UK government’s target date.

But Ms Davidson said with the SNP having been in power

for more than a decade, Ms Sturgeon needed to make a “genuine attempt to reset her time in office”.

The First Minister has previously said she could make a decision on a second independen­ce referendum in October, if details about Britain’s departure from the European Union become clear.

However, Ms Davidson, writing in a Sunday newspaper, said Ms Sturgeon should take the opportunit­y to rule out a referendum.

The Tory leader said: “Here’s what she should say on Tuesday. First, end the uncertaint­y. People have had enough of the SNP’S dance of the seven veils over a second referendum.

“She should say at the start of her speech there’s no reason to wait for her promised update in October – an independen­ce referendum is off the table and she will focus for the rest of this parliament on the sole job of governing Scotland.

“People made it clear in last year’s general election they want her to call it off. For once, she should show she is listening and act.”

Ahead of revealing her proposals for the coming year, Ms Sturgeon said the UK’S decision to leave the EU at the end of March 2019 “heightens the importance of everything else we are doing as a government”.

The First Minister added: “The people of Scotland did not vote to leave the European Union, but in this parliament­ary year we are set to be taken out of the EU against our will – with continuing uncertaint­y around our future relationsh­ip with the world’s largest trading bloc, which is around eight times larger than the UK market alone.

“In the face of this uncertaint­y, we have to intensify our focus on improving the wealth and the wellbeing of communitie­s across Scotland while continuing to argue the case for a common sense approach to Brexit – for continued membership of the single market and customs union.”

The next steps towards establishi­ng a publicly-owned Scottish National Investment Bank will be unveiled this week, Ms Sturgeon said.

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