Scottish Independence: Mike Russell hails team's work on Indyref2 blueprint

Mike Russell, the former minister who is president of the SNP, has welcomed news that a team of 11 civil servants are working on a new "blueprint" for Scottish independence.

Mike Russell has defended the work on the independence blueprint.
Mike Russell has defended the work on the independence blueprint.

Details of the team behind the independence prospectus were revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request made to the Scottish Government.

In her Programme for Government last year, Nicola Sturgeon announced work was resuming on a "detailed prospectus" for independence.

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The Freedom of Information request asked how much of a budget had been allocated to the work, with the Scottish Government saying that it was unable to provide an exact figure.

The Government said that the preparation work would be coordinated by a team consisting of "one senior civil servant and 10 other officials" within the constitution directorate.

Pro-union campaigners condemned the team as an "obscene waste of public money".

Mr Russell, who served as Constitution Secretary until the 2021 election, said: "The people of Scotland have already decided they should have a choice over their future by electing a Scottish Parliament in May with a record majority of pro-independence MSPs.

"Now the preparatory work is underway to develop a blueprint for Scotland as an independent country.

"This is democracy in action: the Scottish Government delivering the manifesto promises on which they were so overwhelmingly elected.

"This detailed work will ensure that the people of Scotland can make an informed choice when voting in the referendum and are presented with the choice of a better and fairer future in an independent Scotland."

The First Minister has said that the legislative timetable for an indyref2 Bill will be confirmed "in the coming weeks".

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: "This is an obscene waste of public money.

"While our NHS struggles with massive waiting lists and children sit in crowded classrooms, only the SNP could think it sensible to devote civil service time and taxpayers' money to this.

"Rather than focusing on how to divide Scotland once again, the Government's priority should be bringing communities together, giving our NHS and public services the resources they need."