Thursday, 4 Mar 2021

Last chance, Nicola! Ian Blackford admits SNP have one final shot at independence dream

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The SNP Westminster leader said the stakes were much higher and stressed the SNP could not afford to lose an independence referendum for a second time. Speaking ahead of the SNP’s National Assembly tomorrow, Mr Blackford said he didn’t accept any “independence referendum campaign by its nature has to be divisive”.

 

He added: “I would absolutely appeal to everybody, our own side and the other side, let’s respect the voters, let’s respect each other.”

The SNP Westminster leader stressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be “honour-bound” to grant another vote.

He added: “We all know Boris Johnson likes to play the court jester but in that cold reality of an SNP election win, if it transpires, then there has to be a realisation from the PM and those around him that you cannot, you must not and you should not deny democracy.”

Mr Blackford stopped short of saying IndyRef2 would certainly take place in 2021 stressing the first priority was to deal “first and foremost deal with the pandemic”.


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The Skye MP’s comments were less assertive than in November when Mr Blackford stressed independence “must take place in 2021”.

He said: “In terms of sequencing, the responsibility that we have is to deal with the pandemic first and take our responsibilities for the health of everyone.

“Once we are in a position of safety, it is right we have that conversation about Scotland’s constitutional future.”

It comes as the SNP revealed a “roadmap to a referendum”, an 11-point document which sets out how the party could achieve a second vote.

The roadmap states any attempt by the UK Government to challenge the legality of the referendum in the courts will be “vigorously opposed”.

Asked about whether Boris Johnson could stop independence after the Prime Minister said the 2014 independence vote was “once in a generation”, he added: “You must respect democracy.

“If people support the SNP in the coming election in the way I hope they will, then that desire, that demand for the people of Scotland to have the right to choose their own future is something that cannot be stopped, it must not be stopped.

“Boris Johnson cannot deny democracy, he has to respect democracy.”

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However, Mr Blackford made clear emotions could arise from the independence vote, adding: “I understand there is emotion involved in this; of course, there is, there always will be.”

The SNP MP made clear: “You must respect democracy and if people support the SNP in the coming election in the way I hope they will, then that desire, that demand for the people of Scotland to have the right to choose their own future is something that cannot be stopped, it must not be stopped.

“Boris Johnson cannot deny democracy, he has to respect democracy.”

Mr Blackford concluded: “It’s not just an ambition to win this, it’s an ambition to win well.”


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It comes as Lady Carmichael said she expects to issue her ruling “within days rather than weeks”, adding on Friday she will “write very swiftly” on a court case determining Scottish independence.

Martin Keatings has taken a case to Scotland’s Court of Session, seeking a declarator of the court that the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate for another referendum.

He is part of the Forward As One group in the case against the Advocate General and Scotland’s Lord Advocate, in a virtual hearing before Lady Carmichael.

But David Johnston, on behalf of the Advocate General, suggested to the court yesterday a pursuer has to be directly affected and Mr Keatings “does not have standing to bring these proceedings and the rule of law does not require that he should”.



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