FMQs: Sturgeon accused of 'brow beating' people on independence

Ruth Davidson accused Nicola Sturgeon of "brow beating" people.
Ruth Davidson accused Nicola Sturgeon of "brow beating" people.
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Nicola Sturgeon was today accused of "brow beating" people until "decisions go her way".

In a fiery First Minister's Questions, held a day early due to tomorrow's European elections, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson raised the issue of a second independence referendum.

The First Minister recently told Parliament that she would bring forward legislation to hold a second referendum, with the intention of the vote being held in 2021. But Ms Davidson said that people had "had enough of referendums" and "Scotland wanted to move on".

However, Ms Sturgeon hit back and said Ms Davidson's "cosying up to Boris Johnson" meant her "conversion to a hard Brexiteer is complete".

Raising the possibility of a second EU referendum, Ms Davidson said the First Minister was not interested in democracy but was "using everything she can lay her hands on to push for the only thing she cares about".

She added: "As she confirmed on the Andrew Marr programme at the weekend that even if UK did vote to stay in EU she'd still insist on rerunning another independence referendum.

"This is about demanding more referendums until people are brow beaten into giving her the decision she wants. Isn't it the case she's only interested in democracy if goes her way?"

To laughter from the SNP back benches, Nicola Sturgeon said: "It's a pity that flip flopping isn't an Olympic sport because Ruth Davidson would be a guaranteed gold medal winner."

She added: "Ruth Davidson used to passionately oppose Brexit, now she supports Brexit. She used to demand we stay in the Single Market - now she wants us taken out the Single Market. She used to call Boris Johnson names I couldn't repeat in this Chamber, now she's cosying up to Boris Johnson the arch Brexiteer."

However in a veiled reference to Ms Sturgeon's predecessor Ms Davidson responded: "I've never had a problem standing up to the alpha males in my own party I wonder if the First Minister is able to say the same?"

She added: "If you ask people to make a decision, if you say to people that we will enact whatever you decide, then democracy is fundamentally damaged if at the first opportunity you insist that vote is held again. Doesn't she see you shouldn't change the rules after the event?"

Ms Sturgeon said: "If she thinks the views of the people of Scotland should always be respected why doesn't she think the 62 per cent of people who voted Remain should be respected? People in Scotland tomorrow have an opportunity to send a clear message that Scotland doesn't want Brexit, it wants to remain in the European Union."

She added: "It's clear the Prime Minister doesn't necessarily think there have been enough referendums. We've had Ruth Davidson's grovelling loyalty to the Prime Minister and her Westminster bosses... it must be so heartbreaking for Ruth Davidson to see none of that repaid as the Prime Minister has just torpedoed her pitch in the European elections. She's so desperate to cosy up to Boris Johnson today that her conversion to a hard Brexiteer is complete."