Nicola Sturgeon after Scottish independence '˜at any cost'

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of pursuing indep­endence at 'any cost' and abandoning the economic case for leaving the UK.

Scottish Independence supporters gather in Glasgow Green to mark the two year anniversary of the Scottish Referendum.

It came after the First Minister claimed that leaving the UK “transcends” the economy, Brexit and oil.

Opposition leader Ruth Davidson said: “The new mantra is that none of these things matter any more and people should just shut up about them and wrap themselves in a flag instead.”

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Scotland yesterday marked the second anniversary of the independence referendum. A new poll showed that Scots remain split on the issue, with 48 per cent wanting independence, according Panelbase, while 52 per cent support staying in the UK. But it also found that two-thirds are not in favour of a referendum being staged inside two years.

Ms Sturgeon said indep­endence is more important than “oil, national wealth and balance sheets”.

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“Two years on from the historic vote of 2014, the fundamental case for Scotland’s independence remains as it was,” she wrote in a weekend newspaper article.

“The case for full self-government ultimately transcends the issues of Brexit, of oil, of national wealth and balance sheets and of passing political fads and trends.”

But Ms Davidson insisted that the First Minister’s comments came in the aftermath of the fall in the oil price and recent revelations that this had led to a record £15 billion black hole in Scotland’s public finances.

“The economic case for indep­endence two years ago was a tissue of lies,” Ms Davidson said.

“Fantasy figures on oil and our national wealth concocted to fool people and which fell apart under scrutiny. Now everyone can see Nicola Sturgeon’s sums don’t add up she’s decided to abandon them altogether.

“Instead of trying to explain what would happen to our economy and how we fund our public services under independence, the new mantra is that none of these things matter anymore and people should just shut up about them and wrap themselves in a flag instead.”

Scottish Labour’s Westminster spokesperson Ian Murray added; “Nicola Sturgeon appears to have learned all the wrong lessons from the Brexit referendum. The detail of the case for independence can’t be dismissed. What we’re talking about are people’s lives, livelihoods and the money they have in their pocket.”

Former First Minister Alex Salmond predicted another independence referendum will be held in autumn 2018.

“Our deadwood unionist media (have) wheezed that support for independence was ‘only at 48 per cent’,” he said at the weekend.

“Only 48 per cent? When I fired the starting gun on the 2014 referendum support for independence was at 28 per cent!”

Ms Sturgeon has said that a second independence referendum is now “highly likely” after the Brexit vote which saw Scots vote to stay in the EU, but the weight of votes south of the border swung the result.