Scottish independence: SNP push for new bill on indyref2 and label idea UK is voluntary union 'dead in the water'

The SNP have sought to amend the Scotland Act and claimed the idea the UK is a voluntary union is “dead in the water”.

Using an opposition day, the party on Wednesday claimed their measures would “fix the British constitution”, and give Scotland a chance to be independent.

Opening the debate, the party’s constitutional affairs spokesman Tommy Sheppard claimed the Supreme Court verdict showed the existing Act wasn’t fit for purpose.

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He told MPs: “The polity that we live in in the United Kingdom is a multi-national state, made up and based upon serial acts of union that have given it quite a unique character and it is something which up until very recently we had assumed required on the consent of the people in the component nations of the United Kingdom to be part of.

The SNP hope to amend the Scotland act giving Holyrood the power to hold a second referendum.The SNP hope to amend the Scotland act giving Holyrood the power to hold a second referendum.
The SNP hope to amend the Scotland act giving Holyrood the power to hold a second referendum.

“We now have a situation following the Supreme Court judgment where it seems that that is not the case, that it is not possible for one group of people in one nation of the United Kingdom to consider reviewing the relationship with the others without their consent.

“That means that the idea of it being a voluntary union of nations in dead in the water until such times as the law is clarified or fixed.”

The move comes amid growing unrest among SNP MPs over Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to fight the next general election as a “de-facto” referendum.

Urging opposition MPs to support the Bill, Mr Sheppard said independence would allow Scotland to do better by its people. He said: “This motion we are proposing is absolutely about the real issues that are facing families in this country right here, right now.

“Tomorrow throughout England and Wales the nurses who saw us thorough the pandemic will be on strike for a living wage. But not in Scotland.

“In Scotland, Scottish ministers have negotiated a settlement with the trade unions, which allows those on the lowest pay to see their wages rise by 11 per cent and there will be no strikes of nurses in Scotland tomorrow.

“We want to do more, we want to do better by our nurses, we want more of them, we want more investment in our health service, we want to build a 21st-century health service based on the wellbeing of our people rather than fixing ill health, and we want the choice to be able to raise revenue and borrow money to make that happen.

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“To do that, we require the powers of a normal, independent country.”

The argument was issued in a session that saw Scotland minister John Lamont mock the new SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn after he replaced Ian Blackford last week.

Mr Lamont told the Commons: “May I take this opportunity to congratulate the honourable member for Aberdeen South on his election as SNP leader. For an MP relatively new to Westminster, it’s been quite a coup.

“There’s a new younger frontman, but it’s the same old SNP pushing division and grievance at every time. The SNP group is still focused only on division, it’s obsessing over the constitution, and it’s distracted from the real priorities of the people across Scotland."



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