Nicola Sturgeon renewed at the SNP annual conference last week her call to reclaim powers to hold a second independence referendum for Scotland by the end of 2020. The First Minister has been claiming Scotland would face dire economic consequences in the aftermath of Brexit and urged Scots to back a separation from the UK to safeguard the nation. But Tory MP Ross Thomson masterfully dismantled Ms Sturgeon’s appeal as he highlighted the “absolute catastrophe” Scotland would face should the SNP succeed in securing a new vote.
Addressing fellow MPs in the Commons on Thursday, Mr Thomson said: “We all know that no deal Nicola and the SNP are so utterly obsessed with independence.
“But voters across Scotland are all too acutely aware of what an absolute catastrophe independence would be for their jobs.
“For their living standards, for their public services, for their family, and for the Scottish economy.”
The Conservative MP for Aberdeen South continued: “Beyond the recent announcement from the Prime Minister on supporting our farmers or protecting and defending our jobs, let us never forget how each man, woman, and child in Scotland is more prosperous and secure within the union and United Kingdom’s internal market.
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“This united kingdom is the most successful union of nations that the world has ever seen and this Government is working day and night to strengthen the bonds that tie us together as we leave the European Union.”
Speaking at the SNP conference in Aberdeen last week, Ms Sturgeon insisted her party already has a “cast-iron mandate for an independence referendum.” While the Scottish party placed third in national polls behind only the Tories and Labour, the First Minister saw her seat share decrease from 56 to 35 at the 2017 general election.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We will win our independence. But not the Brexit way.
“Not by undermining democracy, demonising those who disagree, and plastering lies on the side of a bus. We will win by inspiring and persuading.
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“So let us resolve today that how we campaign for independence will always reflect the open, tolerant, inclusive and democratic nation we are determined to build.”
Among the plans, the SNP adopted is to fast-track the path to a new currency after delegates voted to dump the pound sterling at the party’s spring conference in April.
In the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014, then-First Minister Alex Salmond insisted Scotland would keep the pound as part of a “currency union” with the rest of the UK
Another issue opponents of independence plan have highlighted is the risk the Scottish economy would face should a border need to be put in place between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
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With Scotland trading more than three-and-a-half times as much with the UK than with the European Union, opponents said the U-turn showed the SNP in its true light after years of refusing to acknowledge the risks of different regulatory regimes.
Ms Sturgeon said she did not want to see a new frontier but she did not dismiss the prospect of border controls and checks in the event of a breakaway Scotland rejoining the EU while the rest of the UK is out.
Acting Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s acceptance that Scottish independence will most likely lead to a border with England is a dramatic shift.
“Up until now, the Nationalists have refused to accept this as even a possibility but they are fooling no one.
“Sturgeon must now continue to be honest and admit separation from the UK would lead to extreme austerity, hard borders with England and damage to public services.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie added: “The mask has slipped. For Nicola Sturgeon, any price is worth paying to break up the UK, even dividing friends and family with a hard border.”
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