Rennie calls on Sturgeon to end indyref debate

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie has called on Nicola Sturgeon to close down the independence debate.  Picture: Robert Perry

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie has called on Nicola Sturgeon to close down the independence debate. Picture: Robert Perry

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NICOLA Sturgeon must end the independence debate which has “permanently damaged” relationships between one in twenty Scots and abandon her “secret criteria” for another referendum, according to Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.

Mr Rennie said even nationalists have become “unhappy about the performance of the SNP in government”.

In his keynote speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference in Dunfermline, which was slightly delayed by a fire alarm, Mr Rennie offered an alternative to the “targets, controls and top-down diktats” which he said has damaged local health provision and policing.

“Last week I met a woman in Anstruther who told me that the relationship with her daughter had broken down,” he said.

“It had been like that for over a year. It started with an argument about independence.

“Her family is not alone. An opinion poll found that a quarter of a million people believe their relationship with a friend or family member has been permanently damaged as a result of the independence referendum.

“For the sake of the country, we need to move on from those divisions.”

He added: “But now Nicola Sturgeon has been performing a new dance.

“A dance where she has sought to pivot from her promise not to hold another referendum for a generation to the possibility of holding one in the next five years.

“She has an apparently secret criteria for triggering another referendum.

“What will that mean for every SNP member?

“Well, they will wake up every morning and run down to meet the postman to see if the criteria has been met. It is the only thing they care about.

“Imagine a five-year journey with every MSP in the back asking every single day: are we there yet?’

“Nicola, our constitution has had our time. Surely our police, our NHS and our schools deserve our time now.”

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