Kenny MacAskill: indyref2 would disrupt Government's '˜day job'

Another Scottish independence referendum would have 'implications' on the Scottish Government's ability to get on with their '˜day job', the former Cabinet Secretary for Justice has warned.

But the effect would pale in comparison to Brexit, Kenny MacAskill said to the Herald, as he slammed the Tories for their “gross hypocrisy” over the issue.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon told a US audience that Scotland is ready to take its place as an “equal partner” in the global family of nations by voting for seperation. The First Minister stepped up the pressure on Theresa May to allow a second referendum to be staged during a keynote speech at Stanford University in California on Tuesday.

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Opposition MSPs accused Ms Sturgeon of ignoring the “day job” during her visit to the US.

Mr MacAskill pointed out that Mrs May is herself currently on a trip to Saudi Arabia, and defended the SNP leader’s desire to promote Scotland to a significant trading partner.

However, he conceded that the Conservatives “have a point” when it comes to how a second vote on Scotland’s place in the Union would affect the day-to-day running of the Scottish Government.

Mr MacAskill said: “Where the Tories do have a point is that a referendum will have implications for government.

“It’s not just the allocation of finite civil service resources to it but the focus that the Government has on it.

“It was noticeable during the period running up to 2014 and will remain the same now.

“There’s only so much a government can do and politics is as ever about priorities.

The ex-justice minister for Scotland added that Brexit would have a far greater effect on governance than a second referendum.

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He said: “The Scottish Government has a mandate for a referendum from an election manifesto that sought the right in the event of a material change of circumstances.

“Brexit is that material change. That’s undeniable.

“For sure they’re [the Conservatives] right that a second referendum will slow, though not stop, the wheels of government on more mundane issues.

“But, it’s all as nothing to what Brexit will do, and the Tory Government is after all the driver for all of this.”