FM urges choice
‘Indy campaign is a movement for democracy’
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will underpin her case for constitutional change on a claim that the campaign for independence is a movement to respect democracy.
Ms Sturgeon accused the Westminster Government of “taking a wrecking ball to the idea of the United Kingdom as a voluntary partnership of nations.”
Her comment came in a statement issued the day before she delivers her route map in the Scottish parliament outlining how a referendum can be justified without Westminster approval.
She recalled comments by Tory leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May who said it was the right of the Scottish people to decide how they were governed.
“A Tory Government with just six MPs from Scotland, supported on this issue by Labour, is seeking to deny the democratic right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future,” said Ms Sturgeon.
“In doing so they are demonstrating beyond doubt that in place of a voluntary partnership they believe the UK is instead defined by Westminster control.
“The case for a referendum is therefore now as much a Scottish democracy movement as a Scottish independence movement.
“Even previous Tory leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May said they believed the UK was based on the consent of the people who lived in its constituent nations.”
Earlier this month Ms Sturgeon published the first of a series of papers on the issues around independence and claimed yesterday that an independent Scottish Government would be better placed to tackle the cost of living crisis.
“Becoming independent is not a guarantee of success, but it allows Scotland to make our own choices – better choices – and the chance to succeed where Westminster is so manifestly failing,” she said.
“Where we already have some independence in areas like social security, we’ve used those powers to make far better, fairer decisions, with transformational policies like the Scottish Child Payment – and with the full powers of independence, there is absolutely no reason why a country as resource-rich as Scotland cannot replicate the success of our neighbours.
“Supporting families and raising living standards will be central to our independence plans. Rather than looking to our future with resignation and dread about what Westminster governments might inflict on us, Scotland should look ahead with confidence and ambition.
“We cannot change the past, but we can take control of our future – and it’s time for the people of Scotland to have their say.”
On Saturday, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes wrote to Neil O’Brien, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, expressing concerns about what she sees as a lack of engagement with the Scottish Government in drafting the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
Part One of the Bill may require legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament and the letter states that the Scottish Government will not recommend parliamentary consent to its provisions.
Ms Forbes will today face the Scottish Affairs Committee in the Commons as it explores the fiscal outlook for Scotland.
Issues likely to be discussed with the Minister include the Scottish Government’s approach to the allocation of resources from the UK Government; the fiscal framework and prospects for reform; the Scottish Government’s block grant and tax income; the Scottish Government’s own spending plans; the operation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Scotland.
Scandal MP quits
SNP MP Patrick Grady has resigned his party membership amid a police investigation into sexual harassment allegations.
The party said that Mr Grady will no longer be an SNP MP for Glasgow North and will now sit as an independent.
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that it is investigating an incident which took place at a London pub in 2016.