SNP election plan leaves Scottish independence "nowhere" says MP Angus MacNeil

A senior SNP MP has slammed the party's proposal for a December 9 election claiming it hands Boris Johnson a "Christmas and birthday present all rolled into one"

Angus MacNeil, the Western Isles MP, says it leaves the party's push for independence "nowhere" with no guarantee that Scotland would be allowed to stage a referendum.The UK Government is believed to be considering the joint-proposal put forward by the Liberal Democrats and SNP and Mr MacNeil fears that an election now could return a Tory majority UK-wide.

Read More
SNP 'gimmick' Bill to secure December election could be backed by Boris Johnson

"There's a big risk actually, more than that, that Boris Johnson is going to come back with majority and he's then going to do a hard Brexit or any Brexit, he'll have a mandate for any Brexit," he told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland."Crucially he's going to have that 35-40% of the electorate because this election is being conceded by everybody as a proxy referendum on Brexit."I would much prefer the SNP were concentrating on independence - that ain't happening - so we've got this election which is a proxy referendum on Brexit with a threshold for the Brexiteers of 35-40% to foist any Brexit on the people of the UK."Mr MacNeil said it wasn't clear to him why the SNP have tabled the plan for an early election."We're giving Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one only if he accepts the present three days earlier," he said."I'm kind of perplexed as to what it's about. Obviously the SNP has nothing to fear in an election at the moment, we certainly wouldn't have anything to fear in six months time in Scotland. "The thing we've got to fear is we have Boris Johnson in place for five years with a big majority."The other thing is we haven't sorted out our Section 30, we haven't sorted out what we're doing for a referendum.""It seems to me like a birthday present and Christmas present rolled into one."The SNP Government at Holyrood needs a transfer of power from Westminster - through a section 30 order - to to stage a referendum on independence. Nicola Sturgeon had made this a condition of supporting any bid by Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister, but no similar provision exists in the latest proposal.

Angus MacNeil has hit out at the SNP's election planAngus MacNeil has hit out at the SNP's election plan
Angus MacNeil has hit out at the SNP's election plan
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr MacNeil says he will not vote for his party's proposal and says some of his fellow MPs were surprised by the plan."I haven't seen anybody since this came out on Saturday night. I've spoken to a couple whose jaws were on the floor," he said.He added: "Incidentally we should be getting going on independence. We should have our Section 30."Before the 2014 referendum, we had a Section 30, a date and a campaign going 24, 21, 18 months beforehand."At the moment we're nowhere and we're being told that we'll have an independence referendum in 2020. Yet we're thinking about giving Boris Johnson a majority who will then say No to a Section 30.We should at least clear up what's happening with a Section 30, will we have the agreement of Westminster for a referendum before we gift Boris Johnson an election."I'm agog on a number of things. I'm agog at what Brexit will do to people's jobs in England and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland."And I'm agog as well because independence isn't even part of this calculation."