Westminster must respect Scotland’s choice on independence, Robertson says

Westminster must respect Scotland’s choice on independence, Robertson says

Updated: 26 days, 23 hours, 13 minutes, 29 seconds ago

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The right of people in Scotland to choose their constitutional future must be respected, Angus Robertson has warned.

Scotland’s Constitution Secretary is expected to say in a debate at Holyrood on Tuesday the United Kingdom is a “voluntary union” of nations and should cooperate with the Scottish Government to give its people the opportunity to choose the country’s future.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Robertson said democracy is about “making people’s choices matter”.

He said: “In light of majority support within the Scottish Parliament for an independence referendum, we remain willing to engage with the UK Government at any point to give people – through legitimate democratic means – that much-needed choice to determine their future.

“Two years on from leaving the European Union, despite every council area in Scotland voting to remain in the EU, we are continuing to count the impact of Brexit which is harming everyone in Scotland.

“We will soon have to deal with the implication of the Retained EU Law Bill which, despite the Scottish Parliament voting to withhold legislative consent, could jeopardise our strong employment, environment and agriculture laws.

“This further demonstrates the long-lasting and damaging implications facing Scotland as a result of choices made by the UK Government as part of the current ‘voluntary union’ and makes the case for Scotland to have a clear choice on its own future.

“The constitutional debate is not separate from the issues facing households and businesses across the country – the pressures on public services, the economy and the cost of living crisis and other everyday issues reinforce the need for people to have a choice on our future.

“That is why work is continuing on the building a new Scotland prospectus series which prioritises building a fairer, wealthier and greener Scotland within the EU, far removed from the current economic turmoil of the United Kingdom.

“People in Scotland have voted repeatedly in recent elections for a choice over their future.

“The UK Government should recognise and respect those democratic outcomes, just as they did in 2011, and work with us to deliver on the mandate in the Scottish Parliament for a vote on independence.”

The Supreme Court ruled last year the Scottish Government cannot stage a second referendum on independence without Westminster’s consent.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating on the issues that matter most to them, like growing our economy, getting people the help they need with their energy bills, and supporting our NHS.

“As the Prime Minister has been clear, we will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government to tackle our shared challenges.”

Mr Robertson’s comments come days after Scottish Conservative chief Douglas Ross insisted it was “completely bonkers” that Holyrood’s first debate of 2023 will be about Scottish independence and not the “crisis” the NHS is facing.

Mr Ross said: “We’re starting right now with a crisis in our NHS, we know there’s the potential for our education system to suffer as a result of strike action, we know there is this real, cost-of-living crisis that is going to continue.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in Ukraine, we don’t know what’s going to happen for the remainder of the year, we know public services are struggling, they need more support.

“Yet the first debate we’re having in Holyrood is independence.

“That’s the first thing the SNP/Green Government think is important to speak about in the Parliament just down the road just next week.”

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