Independent Scotland would safeguard NHS and ban nuclear weapons in written constitution

The plans are part of a new independence paper from the Scottish Government.

An independent Scotland’s written constitution under the SNP would safeguard the right to strike, protect the NHS and ban nuclear weapons from being based in Scotland, a new paper from the Scottish Government will set out.

In an attempt to regain the political momentum ahead of the summer, Humza Yousaf will reveal the contents of the paper at a press conference in Glasgow today.

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The paper will be the fourth in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series which have set out the Scottish Government’s arguments for independence, initially ahead of the hoped October 2023 independence referendum, and is the first to be published in over eight months.

First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf is set to reveal a new independence paper on MondayFirst Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf is set to reveal a new independence paper on Monday
First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf is set to reveal a new independence paper on Monday

Their publication has been delayed by domestic policy issues such as gender reforms and DRS, and then the SNP leadership election following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon.

In it, the Scottish Government will set out how it would draft a new constitution for Scotland which would include the recognition of the NHS in Scotland as a “free at the point of need” system of healthcare, the protection of the right to strike and for human rights.

In addition it would also include a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.

Mr Yousaf said: “Our proposals would provide an opportunity for people in Scotland to shape the newly independent country and create a permanent, modern, written constitution to describe the type of country Scotland would be and how it would be governed. Successive UK Governments have taken Scotland in the wrong direction and with independence we would radically shift where power lies and put it back in the hands of the people who live in Scotland.

“The constitution would set out how democracy, rights and equality would be at the heart of everything we do as an independent nation. It will see the introduction of a constitutional right to heath care available at the point of need, a right to an adequate standard of living as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and protection for workers to take industrial action. And, what we will not see under these proposals, are nuclear weapons on the Clyde. This proposed constitution would ban nuclear weapons from an Independent Scotland.

“With rights in Scotland under threat as never before, because of the actions of the UK Government, and the Scottish Parliament being undermined, independence has never been more urgent or essential.”

However the paper has been criticised as being “out of touch” and as “fantasy politics” by critics.

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Scottish Conservative constitution spokesperson, Donald Cameron, said the focus was on the “wrong priorities at the wrong time” and that the war in Ukraine demonstrated nuclear weapons were still “vital”.

He added: “Humza Yousaf had the opportunity to scrap these self-indulgent independence papers and refocus on what really matters to Scotland. The fact that he is continuing to waste government resources on these unwanted and irrelevant papers just proves that he is determined to continue with Nicola Sturgeon’s divisive agenda.

“Hardworking Scots will be outraged to see their taxpayer funding going toward an imaginary constitution, when the SNP’s full focus should be on supporting struggling public services, fixing our NHS and tackling the cost-of-living crisis.”

Neil Bibby, the Scottish Labour MSP said: “While Labour unveils one of the biggest job creation plans in British history, the SNP is reduced to playing fantasy politics.

“Scots want action on the cost of living crisis, the NHS and the economy - and they know that only Labour can deliver it.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader added: “The SNP are completely out of touch. Deploying more civil servants, money and time into independence is an insult to everyone waiting for help with the cost of living crisis, on lifeline ferries or for critical operations and treatments.

“We need to fix our broken politics and restore integrity, but the SNP are part of the problem not the solution.

“With the SNP in apparent free fall there is an opportunity to make devolution work as it should, and Scottish Liberal Democrats will be part of what’s next.”



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