AN SNP MP has asked the Scottish Secretary if he has any “contingency plans” in case a second independence referendum is held after next year’s Holyrood elections.
With opinion polls currently suggesting there could be another SNP landslide in the Scottish Parliament elections, Margaret Ferrier, the new MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, has asked about the possible implications there could be if the majority of MSPs back leaving the UK.
While Scots rejected independence by a majority of 55 per cent to 45 per cent in last September’s referendum, the parliamentary questions have sparked fears a second vote could be on the cards after May 2016.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “Instead of endlessly agitating for independence, the SNP MPs should do the job their constituents sent them to Westminster to carry out.”
He spoke out after Ms Ferrier asked Scottish Secretary David Mundell what assessment has been made “of the implications for his policy on a further referendum on Scottish independence of the Scottish Parliament election in 2016 delivering a majority for political parties committed to the holding of such a referendum”.
The SNP MP has also put forward a second question to the UK Government minister in a bid to discover “what contingency plans his department has prepared for the possibility of a further referendum on Scottish independence being the policy of the Scottish Government after the Scottish Parliament election in 2016”.
Of course many ardent Yes supporters want another referendum - they’d hold one every day until they got the outcome they wantedJohn Lamont
The questions have not yet been answered by Mr Mundell.
After the SNP swept the board in May’s UK general election, winning 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, party leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed there is “’no second Scottish independence referendum on the immediate horizon’’.
SNP chiefs have already said another vote on the future of the UK could only be held if the party won another Holyrood election after pledging to hold a referendum in its election manifesto.
George Kerevan, another of the SNP MPs elected in May, has already said he expects the party’s conference in October “to fizz with the question of putting a mandate for independence into the 2016 manifesto”.
Mr Lamont said: “The SNP is going to have to accept that, less than a year ago, the Scottish people spoke decisively on this matter.
“Of course many ardent Yes supporters want another referendum - they’d hold one every day until they got the outcome they wanted.
“But people invested a lot of time and energy in last year’s vote, and they don’t want to be put through another two-year campaign on this matter.”
An SNP spokeswoman said: “The timing of any future referendum is entirely a matter for the people of Scotland to decide - the people, not politicians, are in charge at every stage of the process.
“The First Minister has made clear we are not planning another referendum, but equally has made it clear that it is not in the gift of any politician and party to rule it out indefinitely.”