Nicola Sturgeon announces planned date for second referendum
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On Monday the Scottish First Minister unveiled the third in a series of papers under the banner of “Building a New Scotland” – outlining her government’s plan to leave the UK. This included transitioning towards a new currency and establishing a trade border with the rest of the UK in view of reacceding to the European Union (EU) and joining the passport-free Schengen area. Ms Sturgeon claims independence is essential for creating a “fairer, stronger, greener Scotland”, but do you think the country would prosper after leaving the UK? Vote in our poll.
This summer, Ms Sturgeon proposed October 19, 2023, as the date for another referendum on independence, bearing the same question as the last: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”.
Three successive Conservative Prime Ministers have refused to authorise a second independence referendum so soon after the one held in September 2014, the UK Government maintaining that only Westminster has the legal power to approve a vote. As such, the matter is currently being debated by the UK Supreme Court.
Prime Minister Liz Truss, who spent six years in Scotland as a child, said during the Tory leadership race: “I consider myself a child of the union and to me we’re not just neighbours, we’re family. I will never ever let our family be split up.”
At the annual conference of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Aberdeen last week, Ms Sturgeon told delegates that “we are the independence generation.”
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Today, at a media briefing in Bute House in Edinburgh, the First Minister detailed the key points of the latest instalment of the SNP’s “Building a New Scotland” economic prospectus.
After independence, Ms Sturgeon said Scotland would continue to use sterling before rolling out a new Scottish pound “when the time is right”. In 2018, the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission estimated a currency switch would take roughly a decade, but their leader today insisted the timescale would be as “short as practicable”.
The First Minister also confirmed an independent Scotland would seek to join the EU. The plans also included a provision to become a part of the Schengen free movement area, while also remaining in the Common Travel Area with the UK and Ireland.
While trade borders would necessarily be implemented over time, Ms Sturgeon asserted that suggestions people would need a passport to travel between England and Scotland were “utter nonsense”.
The paper also contained plans to redesign Scotland’s energy market to make it more secure, reliable and affordable.
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Since the unveiling of Mr Kwarteng’s tax-slashing Growth Plan on September 23, Ms Sturgeon has been harsh in her criticism of the governing Conservative Party, in particular drawing criticism for saying she “detests” Tories on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
Speaking after the Prime Minister sacked her Chancellor on Friday, the Scottish First Minister told reporters that it was time for Ms Truss to go and that a general election ought to be held.
After Mr Kwarteng’s replacement, Jeremy Hunt, this morning reversed the majority of his predecessor’s tax cuts, Ms Sturgeon claimed it was “glaringly obvious that UK does not offer economic stability or financial security”.
However, many remain sceptical of the SNP’s ability to devise an improved economic agenda. The finance and economy spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives Liz Smith said: “Nationalists are consistently unable to address the big questions that the public want answered about independence – on currency, on pensions and about how a hard border would impact our trade with the rest of the UK.”
She added: “Nicola Sturgeon has already admitted that the answers to some of key these questions would not be provided before the public was asked to vote. That is a ridiculous situation which would have serious implications for jobs, wages, savings and investment.”
So what do YOU think? Will an independent Scotland thrive under the SNP’s leadership? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.
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