Scotland: Lorna Slater grilled on 'priority' of referendum
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The former BBC presenter, widely regarded as Britain’s toughest interviewer, took to Twitter after Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater insisted Scotland needed a government that was not “waving Brexit nationalist flags” and “cutting us off from our nearest neighbours”. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she added: “Let us look for an independent Scotland. Small, independent, normal European country with close ties to its neighbours.”
But Mr Neil highlighted the inconsistency over Ms Slater’s Brexit comment as she called for Scottish independence.
He tweeted: “As for describing Brexit as waving flags to separate from our neighbours, what’s Scottish separatism?”
The Scottish Greens today launched their election manifesto ahead of Scot’s taking to the polls on May 6.
Ms Slater said she “fully expects” next month’s Holyrood election will again see a majority of MSPs returned who support independence.
She also insisted Boris Johnson needs to support a second Scottish independence referendum sooner rather than later if he is to have “any chance of winning”.
Ms Slater said: “The speculation I have seen in the media this week is that Boris Johnson is thinking of calling it sooner rather than later.
“And to be fair that is probably in his interest.
“We know from polling something like 85 percent of young people between 16 and 24 agree that independence is normal and support Scottish independence, so if he’s got any chance of winning his side of the argument he’s got to call it pretty soon.”
The manifesto commits the Scottish Greens to campaign and vote for a referendum to take place within the five years of the next Holyrood term.
It states: “We believe that the UK Government’s refusal to respect a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament would not be politically sustainable and could be subject to legal challenge.”
Ms Slater said the coronavirus crisis means her party does not want a referendum to take place until the virus is “under control”.
She said: “We feel during such a referendum it would important for us to campaign effectively, to consult with people, and that means a ground campaign, knocking on doors, and we can’t do that until Covid is eliminated or under control.
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“As soon as Covid is under control then I think we could look at doing something, but certainly within this parliamentary term.”
Her fellow Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie added: “The Scottish Greens believe in independence for a purpose, to let us build the fairer, greener society we all know is needed.
“We’re committed to building an independent Scotland that is modern, democratic and outward-looking, that helps lead the global transition to a zero-carbon society and that plays a positive role as part of the global community.
“A voice on the global stage for peace, justice, human rights and for our planet. A Scotland that rejects the hostile environment of Westminster and is open, inclusive and welcoming to everyone who chooses to make their home here.”
He also claimed that in the wake of Brexit, leaving the UK is Scotland’s “only route back to EU membership”.
Scots voted against independence by 55 percent to 45 percent in 2014.
But the country voted to remain in the European Union by 62 percent to 38 percent in the 2016 Brexit referendum. However, as a whole the UK opted to leave the bloc by 52 percent to 48 percent.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU.
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