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Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Sturgeon has pushed forward with plans for an independence referendum as early as next year. In the Scottish Government programme, Ms Sturgeon set out plans to publish a draft bill where the timescale and options would be decided. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Scottish Tory MP, John Lamont labelled Ms Sturgeon’s independence plans as “absolutely ridiculous”.
Rather than setting out plans for the Scottish Government, the MP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, insisted Ms Sturgeon should look to work with the UK to helping stop the virus and recovering from the pandemic.
He said: “It’s absolutely the only priority that the UK and the Scottish Governments should be defeating this virus and ensuring that people are vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as possible once the vaccine becomes available.
“The idea that we should be having another independence referendum, as some SNP Scottish government ministers have been suggesting in the short period, perhaps even within the next year, it’s just absolutely ridiculous.
“Not only should we be concentrating on managing the pandemic, but there is also going to be a massive economic recovery plan, which requires again, focus of the governments.
“We should be concentrating on the vaccination and economic recovery, that should be consuming all the energies of all of our government ministers, and not getting distracted by another referendum to break up of the United Kingdom.”
The economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic has so far caused Government spending to skyrocket.
In order to protect jobs across the country, Mr Sunak has extended the vital furlough scheme until to March – which will also cover Scotland if it enters into lockdown.
Mr Sunak has also increased the funding for the devolved administration from £14billion to £16billion.
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Published on September 16, the Scottish Government revealed GDP in the country had fallen by -19.4 percent in the second quarter of this year.
Compared with the same quarter last year, the economy decreased by 21.1 percent in comparison to the UK-wide 21.7 percent.
Coupled with the UK leaving the transition period on January 1, Mr Lamont insisted the Scottish Government would be wrong to push for independence due to the economic uncertainty facing the nation.
He concluded: “The challenges associated with Brexit would be multiplied several times if we try to navigate our way through the process of leaving the United Kingdom at the same time.
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“So today is not the time for the referendum.”
The SNP is looking to push ahead with an independence vote if the party wins enough seats in next year’s Holyrood election.
Despite Mr Johnson claiming the vote in 2014 – which the ‘No’ vote won – was a once in a lifetime opportunity, the party’s Constitution Secretary, Mike Russell stated a vote could take place before the end of 2021.
He said: “If the Scottish people endorse the draft bill at the election and wish it to happen, then it must happen, and we’re not going to do anything other than assume that it will happen in those circumstances.
“If the Scottish people speak then they have to be heard and there will have to be a referendum.
“That could take place, I’m sure, before the end of next year.”
Ms Sturgeon has stated her immediate goal is to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
But she has also insisted independence will soon follow post-the pandemic.
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