Indyref: Tory bid to block Sturgeon's referendum statement fails

Nicola Sturgeon is to update MSPs on her referendum plans
Nicola Sturgeon is to update MSPs on her referendum plans
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An attempt by opposition MSPs to block Nicola Sturgeon from making a statement at Holyrood on her plans for a second independence referendum has failed.

Tory MSPs sought to oppose a change in Holyrood's business for Wednesday which would have stopped the First Minister from making her address on Scotland's future. Ms Sturgeon is seeking to set out the way forward for the country in response to the chaos of Brexit.

Read more: Indyref2: Nicola Sturgeon seeks ‘inclusive’ tone in referendum address
Tory chief whip Maurice Golden said the statement was proposed as school subject choice is in "crisis", while Government infrastructure projects are late and cancer care in Tayside is being investigated.

“These are the things that really matter: schools, the economy, hospitals," he said.

“If Nicola Sturgeon wants to give a statement, not about schools, the economy or hospitals – but about a second independence referendum - then she is making her priorities absolutely clear.

“So let me be equally clear: we want to move on from the SNP’s constitutional grandstanding, and get back to the things that matter to the people of Scotland."

Read more: Scottish independence: First Minister held to ‘Sturgeon Test’ of indyref2 support

But SNP business minister Graeme Dey said the Tories were arguing against MSPs receiving a much anticipated update which was seeking to provide some clarity in the response to the Brexit chaos.

He added that there was a "widespread expectation" that the statement would be made, including a specific undertaking to Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie.

""We will take no lessons from the Tories in getting on with the day job," Mr Dey added.

MSPs eventually voted 83-31 in favour of the change to business, allowing Ms Sturgeon's statement to go ahead.