Nicola Sturgeon’s proposal for a second independence referendum has been rejected by the UK Government because it is “unfair to Scottish voters”, Ruth Davidson said today.
The Scottish Tory leader was speaking at a hastily arranged Edinburgh press conference after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that she was rejecting the First Minister’s request to hold another vote on leaving the UK either late next year or early in 2019.
Flanked by Scottish Secretary David Mundell, the pair insisted that the timing was all wrong and Scots must have a chance to see how the country’s relations with the EU will develop in the years ahead after Brexit.
But they refused to set out a timescale which would be accepted for a second referendum to be held.
Mr Mundell said: “We’re not getting bogged down in arbitrary dates or somehow constructing a shadow referendum campaign that could go on for years.
“What we’re saying is that a specific proposal has been brought forward suggesting asking people to choose Scotland’s constitutional future at a time when people in Scotland could not make a fair assessment of alternatives.
“That request is being declined.”
Ms Davidson said she was speaking out to make it clear to Scots what their response is to the section 30 request set out by Ms Sturgeon this week which would allow a second referendum to be legally staged.
“The people of Scotland should not be subjected to another referendum until we can clearly see what the two options are ahead of them on both sides of the argument and until there is public and political consent for that to be brought forward,” Ms Davidson said.
The Scottish Parliament is due to vote next Wednesday on the prospect of a second independence referendum which is likely to be passed as the SNP minority Government combines with the pro-independence Greens to push it through.
But Ms Davidson insisted that Scotland’s “two governments” - Holyrood and Westminster - were not agreed on the plans.
Ms Davidson said this had been in place prior to the 2014 referendum, but this had changed.
“We see how different Scotland is both in the public view, not just on independence, but of having a second referendum and in the political view,” she said.
“This is a point of principle of what is fair to the people of Scotland.”