SNP ‘prioritising independence’ says Willie Rennie
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In a furious tirade, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie slammed Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party for prioritising a second Scottish independence referendum over Covid. Speaking to Scot news programme The Nine he claimed despite what the SNP say they are not prioritising Coronavirus recovery in Scotland. He branded Sturgeon’s actions as a “distraction” away from the “massive challenges” which he said need “needle sharp focus in order to overcome” in a stinging rebuke of the First Minister and the SNP.
The Scot Lib Dem leader said: “Millions have yet to cash their vote and I’m hoping to persuade people through this campaign that we need to put recovery first.
“Rather than another independence referendum that will distract us from dealing with the mental health leave, from getting bounce back support, for education, creating jobs for people who are desperate for work and also taking action on the climate.”
He added: “These are massive challenges which need needle sharp focus in order to overcome.”
He was then asked by the host whether it’s democratic that if the SNP won a majority on the basis they get a second independence referendum people should be allowed to choose if they want an IndyRef2 or not.
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Mr Rennie replied: “But the SNP aren’t going to prioritise the recovery.
“They’re prioritising independence and that’s the very purpose of their platform and we are against that.”
The Scot added: “And if people vote for us, we will vote against another referendum.
“It’s very simple, it’s very democratic, I just do what I say I’m going to do – I think that’s what voters should expect from politicians.”
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Nicola Sturgeon grilled on 'economic cost' of independence
The damming criticism of the First Minister comes as Nicola Sturgeon sat down for an interview with Channel 4 News on Friday where she was left flustered after journalist Ciaran Jenkins confronted her on the huge economic cost of Scottish independence from the UK.
The SNP leader admitted that the SNP’s economic forecasts were “completely out of date”, according to Mr Jenkins.
Jamie Halcro Johnston, Scottish Tory MSP, took to Twitter after the interview to blast the “shameless” SNP.
He said: “What a bunch of shameless, reckless chancers.”
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During the interview, Mr Jenkins asked the SNP leader: “Have you conducted an analysis of the economic consequences of independence?”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “When we put the choice of independence in the form of a referendum we will do the analysis at that point and let Scottish people decide.”
The journalist replied: “Well, experts from the LSE have done some detailed research and they estimate that trade costs between Scotland and the rest of the UK would rise by 15 percent after independence in an optimistic scenario and by 30 percent in a pessimistic scenario.”
The First Minister said the analysis was a “very, very narrowly-based assessment and it didn’t take into account the wider benefits of independence to Scotland’s economy”.
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