SNP set to publish independence referendum bill as party is criticised for going 'full steam ahead on dividing Scotland'

The SNP have been criticised for going “full steam ahead on dividing Scotland” by Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross as the party seeks to get ‘indyref2’ on the ballot paper.

The criticism comes as The National reports the long-awaited second independence referendum bill is set to be published by the Scottish Government in coming days.

The Herald is also reporting the SNP have applied to the Electoral Commission to put the issue of indyref2 on the ballot paper.

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The moves were described as being the “height of recklessness” by the Scottish Conservatives.

Boris Johnson has said he will not grant a second Scottish independence referendum.

SNP figures have applied to register ‘Vote SNP for IndyRef2’ and ‘Both Votes SNP for IndyRef2’ as ways to describe the party on the ballot paper.

It follows similar moves from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, with the former applying to register ‘End Division, No Referendum, Rebuild Scotland’, and ‘Not Another Referendum, Time for Recovery’, and the latter plumping for ‘Scottish Liberal Democrats – Put Recovery First’.

The early moves are a further indication of the SNP and Scottish Conservatives’ desire to fight this election on constitutional grounds and make it a vote on the prospect of a second referendum.

Should the SNP win a majority, they are likely to claim a mandate for a second referendum, while the Scottish Conservatives will claim the opposite should Nicola Sturgeon’s party fail to win a controlling share of Holyrood.

The First Minister has said she wants to see Scotland given a choice on whether to leave the UK within the next Parliament, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to allow a second referendum.

Reacting, Mr Ross said: “The SNP are going full steam ahead on dividing Scotland with their push for indyref2.

“Their campaign slogans are all about indyref2. They don’t even mention rebuilding Scotland or recovering from Covid-19.

“Their priority is clear – indyref2 at all costs. It’s the height of recklessness that shows an extreme disregard for Scotland’s recovery efforts.

“Scotland wants to get out of this health and economic crisis, but the SNP are pushing an indyref2 bill that would drag us right back into another crisis.

“They’re putting party before pandemic and risking Scotland’s recovery. Only the Scottish Conservatives can prevent an SNP majority, stop their push for indyref2 and get the focus back onto rebuilding Scotland.”

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