FMQs: Referendum opponents fear ‘verdict of Scots’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister's Questions. Picture: Hemedia
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister's Questions. Picture: Hemedia
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Nicola Sturgeon has today said that opponents of another referendum on independence “fear the verdict of the Scottish people.”

The First Minister told MSPs that support for Scotland leaving the UK has been rising since the historic vote a year ago tomorrow which saw 55 per centof Scots vote No to independence, while 45 per centbacked Yes.

But opposition leaders today urged the SNP leader to move on and “prioritise” issues she has control over like Scottish education.

Ms Sturgeon has revealed that the SNP’s manifesto for next year’s Holyrood’s election will include provisions for a second referendum if there is popular support for it.

And she told MSPs at First Minister’s Questions today that support for independence is on the rise.

“There have been 24 polls in the last 12 months - every single one of them has show support for independence higher than it was a year ago tomorrow,” she said.

“We’re starting to see that the desperation of the Better Together parties to have a referendum ruled out indefinitely is not because they respect democracy - it is because on this issue they increasingly fear democracy.”

The First Minister said growing discontent stemmed from a public belief that the Vow on more powers for Holyrood, following the No vote, had been broken.

“If the Tories, if Labour, if the Liberals really believed in their heart of hearts that the people of Scotland were totally against independence, they would be crying out for another referendum,” she said.

“People know that the reason they want us save them from rising support for independence is that they fear the verdict of the Scottish people.”

Labour’s Kezia Dugdale called on the First Minister to focus on issues where she has control in Scotland like education, amid growing concerns over the gap in schooling between rich and poor areas.

“Thousands of children in Scotland leave school unable to write properly,” Ms Dugdale said.

“What will it take for the Scottish Government to put the arguments of the past aside and focus on the future of our young people.

“People in Scotland deserve to know when will this First Minister stop campaigning for another referendum and start governing for a better Scotland.”

Tory leader Ruth Davidson said that before last year’s referendum, the First Minister had pledge it would be a once-in-a-generation event.

“She’s just scratching around trying to find any imaginable excuse to get the referendum rematch that the SNP so desperately wants.”