Ex-SNP minister says indyref2 plans should be ‘abandoned’

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A former Scottish Cabinet minister has said the SNP should abandon its current plans for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Former justice minister Kenny MacAskill wrote a column in the i newspaper that a push for a further referendum should be sidelined following the General Election result where the SNP lost 21 of its 56 seats, which he said was “ignored or explained away simply as unionist tactical voting”.

REDA MORE: Kenny MacAskill - continual battle mode for indyref2 was a mistake
Mr MacAskill wrote: “The SNP stands for independence for Scotland and the advancement of all Scottish interests. It is not the Referendum Party. That’s a strategy for the achievement of independence.

“However, in light of election results it would be wise for the SNP to abandon current plans for a second independence referendum at the moment.”

He added: “There can’t be a second referendum at the moment as neither the mood is there for it, nor the support in existence to win it.

“The SNP needs to build the base in Scotland once again before it can return to the people seeking a further mandate. It’s not an abandonment of independence but a recognition of fact.”

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Scottish Labour’s election campaign manager James Kelly said: “Senior SNP voices are queuing up to tell Nicola Sturgeon to drop her destructive plans for an unwanted second independence referendum.

“If she won’t listen to voters, who sent her a clear message in the election, she must surely listen to people within her own party.

“It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to get back to the day job of improving our schools and hospitals.

“She should immediately take the threat of a divisive second referendum off the table, and focus on what really matters to people.”

SNP deputy leader Kirsty Blackman said: “Labour are in no position to lecture anyone after a UK election where they finished in third place in Scotland for the first time in decades.”

She added: “The urgent priority is the Brexit talks about to get under way this week, and that is where Labour should be focused instead of obsessing about independence.

“We have made clear we will reflect and then outline our position, at all times with the best interests of Scotland in mind.”