Douglas Ross calls for boycott of 'wildcat' independence referendum

Tory leader Douglas Ross has stepped up calls for a boycott of an independence referendum in Scotland that is not agreed legally with the UK Government.

A roadmap to another referendum on independence was set out at the weekend
A roadmap to another referendum on independence was set out at the weekend

The Moray MP has now urged the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to make a similar pledge of non-participation if the Scottish Government presses ahead with plans for another vote on leaving the UK without a section 30 order that transfers power to Holyrood for such a vote.

The SNP set out an 11-point roadmap to a referendum at the weekend that suggests if the UK Government didn't grant the poll, it would have to accept Holyrood has the power to stage a repeat of the 2014 vote or mount a legal challenge.

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Mr Ross said the process that brought about the 2014 independence referendum was the "gold standard”.

He said: "Anything which constitutes this new battle they want to take to the courts and an unofficial referendum should be boycotted.

"It shouldn't be given any credibility. It is again a divisive tactic by the SNP to split our country apart with no then formal recognition of the result.

"I would take no part in that and I would hope anyone, not just unionist supporters but people who support democracy, should not take part in these wildcat, unofficial referendums.

"So, yes, I would make that plea to Scottish Labour, the Scottish liberal Democrats and anyone who believes in democracy in Scotland."

The constitution is reserved to the UK Government under the devolution settlement. The last referendum in 2014 was held after Alex Salmond and David Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement allowing it to take place.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out agreeing to another referendum, paving the way for a constitutional stand-off if, as polls suggest, a pro-independence majority is returned after the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

The roadmap document was presented to about 1,000 members of the SNP's national assembly by the Scottish Government's constitution secretary Mike Russell.

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It says a "legal referendum" will be held after the pandemic if there is a pro-independence majority at Holyrood following May's election.

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