David Mundell: UK Government ‘won’t agree’ to independence referendum before 2021

The UK Government “will not agree to another independence referendum before 2021”, the Scotland Secretary has said as he came under repeated pressure from SNP MPs to back a second poll on Scotland’s future.

David Mundell. Picture: PA wire

David Mundell told MPs in the Commons the introduction of a separate Scottish currency would be “absolutely disastrous”, adding: “My constituents are quite clear they don’t want Nicola Sturgeon’s chocolate money.”

Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East) raised the issue of the forthcoming European Parliament elections as he called on the people of Scotland to be given a choice over their own future.

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The SNP MP said: “Two weeks tomorrow the people of Scotland go to the polls and the SNP will be fighting that election not just resisting the shambles of the Tory Brexit, but demanding that the voice of Scotland be heard and the people of Scotland be given a choice over their own future.

“If my party wins that election, secretary of state, will you then abandon your resistance to the Scottish Government being able to consult people on their own future?”

Speaking during Scotland questions, Mr Mundell replied: “Well I don’t know what (his) definition of win that election will be, but that election is to elect members of parliament from Scotland to the European Parliament for as short a period as possible and that should be the focus of that election.”

The SNP’s Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) argued the UK Government was “deeply rattled by growing support for independence”.

SNP MP Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) added: “We’re being dragged screaming and shouting out of the EU against our national collective will.”

Mr Sheppard added: “Isn’t it really the case that it doesn’t matter how many elections we win, it doesn’t matter how many times the people of Scotland demand a say in their own future, you’re a crumbling Government and your party that has the support of one in five people in Scotland will continue to deny them the opportunity to determine their own future.”

Mr Mundell replied: “The fundamental issue is that when the people of Scotland determined their own future in the 2014 referendum and voted decisively to remain in the UK, (he) and his friends didn’t like the answer and their position is to keep going, to challenge that result until they get the answer that they want. But I’ve been very clear, this Government will not agree to another independence referendum before 2021.”

He added that leaving the EU “will of course result in substantially increased powers” for the Scottish Parliament.

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