SNP on independence warpath as Blackford blasts Brexit destruction and demands referendum

SNP have 'wasted precious time' on Indyref2 bid says MSP

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The MP will tell the party’s annual conference its “Scotland’s turn to choose” after having years of policies imposed on it. He will say it is the SNP’s duty to carry out an independence referendum as soon as possible in order to keep its word to the electorate.

Mr Blackford will tell the virtual conference the country is now “faced with a choice of two futures” as he seeks to make the case for going it alone.

With the Tories having been in Government in the UK for more than a decade, the MP will tell SNP supporters: “Westminster has already chosen its future.

“A jobs-destroying Brexit, the return of Tory austerity cuts and more attacks on devolution.”

He will insist: “We can’t be forced to accept that future.

“It is now Scotland’s turn to choose.”

Attempting to paint the choice facing Scotland as one of the SNP or the Conservatives, he will say the Tories are the only party not to have been in Government in Holyrood.

The early years of devolution saw Scotland governed by a coalition of Labour and the Liberal Democrats before the SNP came to power in 2007.

The party has remained in charge in Edinburgh since then, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently bringing the Scottish Greens into her Government in a power-sharing deal.

“Since devolution, almost every major party has been part of the Scottish Government,” he will say.

“It tells you all you need to know that the only party that hasn’t are – the Tories.”

He will add: “All this time, we have been on a different path.

“The Scottish people have put their trust in different parties, made different political choices and ensured that different values are at the heart of Governments in Scotland.

“That’s not a new normal – it is now the calm constant of Scottish politics.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will hold a vote on a new independence referendum “as soon as the pandemic allows”.

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She is hoping to hold a fresh vote by the end of 2023.

Earlier this week she instructed the Scottish Government to once again begin preparing for a referendum.

With polls showing the vast majority of Scots do not agree with the timetable set out by the First Minister, the theme of the SNP conference this year has been about reaching out to convince more people about the case for independence.

Ms Sturgeon will deliver a speech of her own to make the case for quitting the UK on Monday.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of the pro-union campaign group Scotland in Union, said: “Whatever people think of Brexit, the answer isn’t to walk away from our largest trading partner and scrap the pound.

“And the answer to austerity isn’t to impose greater austerity by leaving the UK.”

Ms Nash added: “This SNP conference has demonstrated how out of touch the party is – every speech is dominated by independence which isn’t a priority for the people of Scotland.

“Scots want politicians to focus on the NHS, Covid recovery, jobs and the climate emergency – and we do that by working together to build a better future for every community in the UK.”

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