Tory leader lays down challenge
Carlaw tells Sturgeon: ‘stick to referendum pledge’
Nicola Sturgeon: made pledge (pic: Terry Murden)
Scottish Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw is calling on Nicola Sturgeon to stand by her pledge not to call for a second independence referendum until it has majority support in the country.
Mr Carlaw says the SNP leader made the commitment in April 2016 and should abide by her own ‘Sturgeon test’ when the party gathers for its spring conference this weekend.
Instead, she claims she has the right to demand a referendum, even though a poll by the SNP-supporting ‘Progress Scotland’ group earlier this month concluded that support for independence had fallen to below 40%.
SNP deputy leader Keith Brown accused opposition parties of being “running scared of independence” as they face a backlash over their handling of Brexit.
Mr Carlaw, pictured, said: “At her own manifesto launch, Nicola Sturgeon made her view clear: if people didn’t back independence, she wouldn’t propose a referendum.
“Even by her own logic, the First Minister has not earned the right to hold another referendum. Let’s therefore hope that this week the First Minister stands by her own words, and doesn’t cave in to her activists ahead of SNP conference.
“Nicola Sturgeon should uphold the Sturgeon Test. Scotland doesn’t want yet more referendums – we want to move on and focus on the things that matter: improving our schools, making our streets safer and growing high quality jobs in Scotland.”
Mr Brown said the SNP was the only party focussed on securing a positive, optimistic future for Scotland against the devastation that Brexit will cause.
“The SNP head into this week’s conference on the back of increasing support and a determination to do everything we can to protect Scotland’s interests and present a positive, optimistic and outward looking vision for Scotland,” he said.
“Since 2016, across Westminster, the SNP have often been the only adults in the room, the only party focussed on offering a serious sensible way forward out of the Brexit mess
“The Scottish Tories have completely sold out Scotland’s interests over Brexit and are happy to let Westminster do whatever they want to Scotland.
“Meanwhile, Labour are quietly signing up to deliver a Tory Brexit – against the wishes of the people of Scotland – and without putting the issue back to the people.
“Labour and the Tories no longer have a positive vision to offer the people of Scotland. They are running scared of any debate over Scotland’s future – especially one that would see more decisions about Scotland taken in Scotland.
“In stark contrast the SNP continues to win the support of people across the country, to listen to communities across the country and to set out a positive vision for Scotland’s future.”
SNP calls for post-Brexit funding clarity
The SNP has renewed calls for the UK government to ensure Scotland is protected from the potential loss of millions of pounds of vital EU funding after Brexit.
At present, the Scottish Government oversees spending decisions on the hundreds of millions that Scotland receives in EU funding. The UK government has failed to publish the details about its replacement scheme and has broken its commitment to publish a consultation on the scheme by the end of 2018.
The SNP has consistently pushed the UK government to commit to fully replacing the funds that Scotland currently receives from the EU after Brexit, pushing to ensure that Holyrood has full control over this money.
Alison Thewliss: UK government cannot continue to stall (pic: Terry Murden)
After failing to receive answers from the UK government, SNP MP Alison Thewliss has written to the Chancellor for urgent clarity on the Shared Prosperity Fund – the Tories so-called replacement for EU Funding – and further Brexit funding for local government.
She said: “With the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, the Tory government’s Shared Prosperity Fund remains a mystery, offering no answers on how much money Scotland will get, who will administer the funds, and what the priorities for it will be.
“Communities in Scotland could face losing millions of pounds of vital EU funding if the UK government drags Scotland out of the EU against our will and fails to bridge the funding gap.
“The UK government cannot continue to stall on this issue. The Tories must commit to Scotland controlling its fair share of the Shared Prosperity Fund and ensure that Scotland will not get a penny less than it would have received under current EU funding.”