Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Nicola Sturgeon confronted by former SNP activist for ‘misleading’ members on independence

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Andrew Wood, a former member of the SNP for over 20 years, has also accused Ms Sturgeon of turning the SNP into a “far-left extremist movement” since taking over the leadership following the 2014 Independence referendum. Mr Wood, who quit the SNP in 2019 to become join the Tory opposition in Dumfries & Galloway, has said the First Minister has taken the party from the centre-left of the political spectrum to the far-left in her six years in charge.

Cllr Wood, who represents the Mid and Upper Nithsdale Ward, also took aim at one of the SNP’s main arguments for becoming independent from the rest of the UK.

He questioned whether Scotland could simply become a member of the European Union if the people of Scotland voted in favour of IndyRef2.

Mr Wood said: “The SNP has changed dramatically since the last referendum on independence, with a major influx of disenfranchised Labour supporters, plus Yes campaigners.

“The SNP is no longer a slightly left of centre party but a far-left extremist movement that is buying votes by giving out freebies, passing legislation that gives greater state control while curtailing free speech, misleading a membership in the belief that Scotland can re-join the EU, and regain our fishing rights offering a wealthy and prosperous outcome.”

In 2014, the people of Scotland voted 55 percent in favour of staying part of the UK, during a referendum dubbed a “once in a generation vote”.

Mr Wood also warned Scotland managing its own finances would provide a “major stumbling block” to Independence.

In a dashing blow to Ms Sturgeon, Mr Wood insisted if Scotland voted to leave the UK it could lead to “more tax rises and greater public spending cuts”.

He pointed out Scotland only contributed eight percent of Britain’s total revenue from taxes and oil, while at the same time benefitting from over nine percent of the UK’s spending on public services.

He told the Dumfries & Galloway News: “Yes, any nation can operate an independent nation, but it is about what kind of nation we want.

“In recent years Scotland has only managed to generate eight per cent of the UK’s total revenues from taxes and oil.

“However we benefited from 9.3 percent of the UK’s total spending on public services such as the NHS, schools and pensions.

“So let’s be honest, in that reducing such a deficit requires more tax rises and greater public spending cuts.

“I know many SNP members will not like to read the truth, but at present Scotland is benefiting financially from being in the UK.

“I would hope that those supporting or considering supporting the SNP will take this as a serious wake-up call.”

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Earlier this month Ms Sturgeon announced the Scottish Government would publish a draft bill setting out the terms, question and timing of a second independence referendum – despite opposition from Downing Street.

The next Holyrood election is set to take place on May 6, 2021.

An SNP spokesman said: “Andrew left the SNP months ago. And he seems to have left reality behind as well with comments like that.”

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