Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘being in cloud cuckoo land’ as she prepares to unveil IndyRef2

Ross says he won't take part in Sturgeon's 'pretend referendum'

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The First Minister will today outline her ‘routemap’ plans to hold a second referendum on Scotland’s future in the UK to the Scottish Parliament. There will be a 20-minute address to Holyrood on Tuesday by Ms Sturgeon followed by 40 minutes of questions from opposition and backbench MSPs. Speaking ahead of her statement, Ms Sturgeon said it was time to ‘give people the democratic choice they have voted for’.

The First Minister added: “The people of Scotland have elected a Parliament committed to giving them a choice on independence, and so that democratic will must be respected.

“In Scotland, it is the people who are and have always been sovereign – and it is the people’s will which must prevail.

“The UK is either a partnership of consent or it is not a partnership worthy of the name. Westminster rule over Scotland cannot be based on anything other than a consented, voluntary partnership.

“It is time to give people the democratic choice they have voted for, and then with independence to build a more prosperous, fairer country in a true partnership of equals between Scotland and our friends in the rest of the UK.”

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said the Scottish Government plans to hold a vote in October next year.

But the Tory-led UK Government has refused to engage with the First Minister on her plans for a second referendum.

Questions remain as to whether the Scottish Government would call for a second referendum through a section 30 order – a clause in the Scotland Act which would grant a legal referendum – before legislating through the Scottish Parliament.

On the other hand, SNP ministers could legislate for a second vote without Westminster approval through Holyrood – but the legislation could be struck down by the Supreme Court in a potential legal challenge.

Scottish Tory Constitution spokesman Donald Cameron MSP said: “The First Minister’s obsessive push for another divisive independence referendum is the height of self-indulgence and irresponsibility.

“In the last week before summer recess, people want to see the SNP Government focus on the issues that really matter to them, rather than wasting time and energy on a pretend poll.

“Right now, ministers should be prioritising the global cost-of-living crisis, fixing our NHS and rebuilding our economy from the pandemic.

“It is disgraceful that Nicola Sturgeon would put all that on the backburner to push for another unwanted – possibly even illegal – referendum.”

A UK Government source claimed Ms Sturgeon was in ‘cloud cuckoo’ land over her latest plans to Break Up Britain.

They added: “Our position on a second referendum is very clear, now is not the time for any divisive vote.

“She [Nicola Sturgeon] and her government must be in cloud cuckoo land if they think any referendum will be agreed to now.

“So far, the Scottish Government have clearly failed to show the legitimacy of holding a referendum without agreement from us [UK Government]”.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s desire to break up the UK is out of touch, obsessive and desperate.

“Nicola Sturgeon is neglecting everyone who is worried about paying the bills or the sharp spike in Covid infections. It’s a kick in the teeth for health staff, the hundreds of thousands of people on NHS waiting lists and anyone who believed the First Minister when she said education was the top priority.

“Breaking up the UK is not the solution to these problems. Her obsession with breaking up the UK is a big part of the problem.”

Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar, added: “The SNP are trying to drag Scotland back to the politics of the past instead of dealing with the challenges of the present.

“It is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon is ramping up her efforts to sow division and strife when we see the chaos in her party and the failures of her government.”

Ms Sturgeon’s government has also been accused of wasting £1.2 million of Scots taxpayers money on drawing up her new blueprint to break up Britain.

SNP Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson confirmed in March that one senior civil servant and 13 other officials in different pay bands were currently working on the plan.

But now it has emerged the First Minister has increased the number of civil servants to 20 as she prepares to outline her plans to hold a second referendum.

Salaries for the recruits working on the plan range from £26,000 to £100,011 with the majority being in higher pay bands.

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A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Scottish Government by pro-union group Scotland in Union reveals the team consists of a Senior Civil Servant and nineteen other officials as of the end of last month.

Among the team includes 15 in the C pay band, one of the highest ranks among Nicola Sturgeon’s army of civil servants as well as a higher ranking official thought to be a director.

The blueprint is a series of papers which will help put together a ‘full, frank and constructive’ debate on a second vote for separation over the coming months.

Alastair Cameron, Scotland in Union director, said: “This revelation demonstrates a totally unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money by the SNP.

“These are senior, highly-paid and expert civil servants who could be devoting their time to pressing matters such as reducing NHS waiting times or closing the attainment gap in our schools.

“Instead, they have been tasked by SNP ministers with working on a blueprint to divide the people of Scotland.”

He added: “The majority of people in Scotland don’t want to leave the UK, and voters are strongly opposed to another referendum next year.

“The First Minister should stop pandering to hardline nationalists and squandering public money on a hypothetical, unwanted referendum.

“Scotland has a brighter future as part of the UK, bringing together people and communities, keeping the pound, enabling businesses to grow, investing more in public services, sharing our defence capabilities, and creating more jobs.”

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