FMQs: Scots have the ‘right to change their minds’ on independence

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Nicola Sturgeon has rejected claims of failing to "respect" the outcome of the 2014 independence referendum, insisting: "People have the right to change their minds."

Tory leader Jackson Carlaw warned the SNP would "hijack" every vote in the election tomorrow to push for independence with Ms Sturgeon seeking to stage a referendum next year.

Nicola Sturgeon said Scots had the right to change their minds when the circumstances change

Nicola Sturgeon said Scots had the right to change their minds when the circumstances change

It came as Scotland's political leaders clashed in the final First Ministers Questions before voters go to the polls across the country tomorrow.

The SNP leader said many Scots voted No to independence in 2014 because they were told that would protect the country's EU membership.

She added: "Here we are five years later with Jackson Carlaw and the Tories trying to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will.

"In a democracy people have the right to change their mind when the circumstances change."

She added: "People do face a stark choice tomorrow in the most important election of our lifetime.

"Down one path there is a future dictated to us by Boris Johnson and the Tories being ripped out of Europe, child poverty rising, more cuts in our public services and austerity. Alternatively the people of Scotland can vote SNP and a vote for the SNP is a vote to lock Boris Johnson out of Downing Street, escape the mess of Tory Brexit and to put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands."

But Carlaw insisted the First Minister has never "respected the will of the people" when the question of independence was put in 2014.

"It's a bit rich for her to start talking about others respecting election results when she's refused to accept the result of any referendum," he said.

Mr Carlaw read out a message to MSPs in Holyrood which he'd received from a voter called Kenny from Ayrshire after last night's TV leaders' debate.

It read: "Nicola Sturgeon says she wants me to make my voice heard - but what the point when she just ignores everything I have to say when it doesn't suit her. I voted No to independence and so did most people in Scotland but she just won't leave it alone.

"Why is it she just listens to some folk, but not others."

Mr Carlaw added; "Why do you have a habit of only listening to those people who agree with you. Why do the voices of over two million Scots who voted No in 2014, not count with you?"

The Tory leader said the Scotland's future prospectus for independence published ahead of the 2014 referendum stated it would be a "once in a generation" vote.

"That's commitment that she then signed up to - with her predecessor in the Edinburgh Agreement. She has never respected the result, she has never honoured the result. She has simply ignored the majority and kept the issue in place because that's all she's interested in doing.

He added: "People face a very stark choice tomorrow - they can support the SNP and come Friday see the First Minister hijacking every vote cast on Thursday as a mandate for a second independence referendum, taking us back to more division and extended chaos next year or they can choose a different option.

"They can choose the Scottish Conservatives to stop indyref2 and let the country move on."

Ms Sturgeon said 62% of Scots voted to Remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum

She added; "It used to be what Jackson Carlaw believed in as well, until he got his instructions from Boris Johnson and now he's a born-again Brexiteer.

"The difference between me and Jackson Carlaw is this: He thinks it's OK for Boris Johnson to dictate Scotland's future to the people of Scotland - I think it's for the people of Scotland to choose our future .

"The fact that the Tories don't want the people of Scotland to have that choice shows that they are running scared of the verdict of the Scottish people.

"I stand for choice and on Friday morning we could be waking up to a future where the future of the country is in the hands of the Scottish people not in the hands of Boris Johnson and the Conservatives."