Saturday, June 25, 2022

Nicola Sturgeon fires the go-ahead for a ‘formal’ campaign for Scottish independence

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The First Minister publishes the first in a series of papers which together will form a “Prospectus for an Independent Scotland”.

The First Minister holds a press conference in Edinburgh to launch the document, which is part of a collection entitled ” Building a new Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon will launch her latest campaign for Scottish independence on Tuesday when she releases the first of a series of papers in which she advocates leaving Britain.

The Scottish Government is expected to publish its Referendum Bill by the end of the year, aiming to hold a legal vote by the end of 2023.

However, Ms Sturgeon conceded on Monday that the Scottish Parliament’s ability to hold its own referendum was “contentious” and that the bill was likely to be challenged in court.

Today’s document will be entitled independence in the modern world. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland? and is said to be the “set designer” for the series.

Other parts of the series discuss key issues such as currency, economics, defense and security, pensions, EU membership and trade.

The Scottish Government described the series as “a prospectus for an independent Scotland” that allows voters to make “an informed choice” about their future.

However, it is unclear how a legal vote could take place if Ms Sturgeon’s proposed Referendum Bill is ruled unlawful and the UK Government continues to refuse to delegate powers to conduct a referendum, as it did before the 2014 vote.

When asked if publishing the newspaper was her “formal launch of the campaign for indyref2”, Ms Sturgeon told the BBC: “Yes”.

She said the series would “make a renewed plea for independence in an interdependent world”, adding: “The world has changed significantly, both domestically and internationally, since Scotland voted in 2014.

“The first paper will be very much a set designer, it will look through a wealth of evidence on the economic and social performance of the UK and Scotland compared to a range of other countries across Europe and the conclusion is quite clearly Scotland could as much better off as an independent country.”

Ms Sturgeon was also asked about the absence of a Section 30 order that would transfer the power to hold a statutory referendum from Westminster to Holyrood, and whether that could derail her plans to vote.

“We all know that the legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament are contested,” she said. “It hasn’t been tested yet, but that’s the issue we’re currently working on so we can deliver a legitimate process.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton dismissed the newspaper’s publication, saying Ms Sturgeon “has launched more pro-independence campaigns than ferries”.

“Ministers give their attention, top civil servants and tens of millions of pounds to independence,” he added.

“They care more about their independence obsession than anyone on the longest NHS waiting lists in history, the cost of living crisis or the climate emergency.”

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