Indyref2 delay due to Ukraine would 'hand Putin veto over democracy in Scotland' claim SNP

Vladimir Putin would be handed an “effective veto over democracy” in Scotland if indyref2 was delayed by the Ukraine invasion, the SNP has said.

The comments come in response to The Scotsman’s exclusive poll which showed the majority of Scots wish to see discussions around indyref2 stop due to the ongoing conflict.

It also gave a small lead for No when undecideds are excluded, with the vote split 52/48 in favour of unionists.

The SNP rejected the suggestion the poll demonstrated the need to stop the ongoing discussions around indyref2.

A poll found support for pausing discussions on a second referendum due to the crisis in Ukraine

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Last week, the Scottish Green leaders both said they expected a referendum to take place in 2023 despite the conflict, and Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly reaffirmed her commitment to a vote by the end of next year.

SNP MSP Rona Mackay said stopping discussions would give Vladimir Putin a “veto” over democracy in Scotland.

She said: “Suggesting that Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine means the democratic process in the UK should be suspended would be grist to the Kremlin’s mill – Vladimir Putin should not be handed an effective veto over democracy in Scotland or anywhere else. You don’t defend democracy by suspending it.

“People have already decided there should be an independence referendum – this debate was had in last year’s Holyrood elections and the people elected a majority of MSPs with a mandate for an independence referendum in the parliamentary term - greater than that in 2011.”

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The SNP has said delaying indyref2 due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine would give Putin a veto over Scottish independence.

In 2014, Alex Salmond criticised “underhand tactics” and accused David Cameron of trying to recruit Putin to help stop Scottish independence.

He later joined RT as a TV presenter. The station had its licence to broadcast in the UK revoked by Ofcom today.

Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservative constitution secretary, said the poll demonstrated the need for the SNP/Green government to stop their “ill-timed and unwanted push” for a second vote.

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He said: “Scottish public opinion is clear that the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine is the overriding issue facing the country and the world – yet many nationalists are still so obsessed with their own self-serving agenda that they can’t or won’t see it.

“On top of Russia’s deplorable actions internationally, we also have the huge domestic challenges of rebuilding Scotland’s economy after the pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis.

“The Scottish Government have enough on their plate - their self-indulgent constitutional obsession must stop.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said the poll echoes the message on the doorstep.

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He added that it was now time for the Scottish Government to “do its part” and focus on helping refugees from Ukraine and Scots suffering from the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “This poll confirms what we've been hearing on doorsteps all over Scotland for months, people want this government to focus on the most important issues Scotland is facing, not another referendum.

"Scotland faces a multitude of challenges. The cost of living is skyrocketing, A&E targets have not been met for months and young people are waiting more than a year for mental health support. Yet rather than helping our NHS, our businesses, and our households, the SNP continues to waste time and effort on their divisive agenda.

"The SNP must get a grip on reality and get their priorities straight."

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Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-union campaign group, Scotland in Union, said the SNP/Greens were “tone deaf”.

She said: “The majority of people in Scotland do not want another divisive referendum, especially amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

“With so many challenges facing people, it’s clear that we need politicians focused on pulling communities together and pooling and sharing resources and talent - rather than politicians trying to pull people apart.”

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

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It's available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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