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Nicola Sturgeon has claimed independence is “essential” to help with the task of rebuilding Scotland after coronavirus. Ahead of her final speech at the SNP annual conference on Monday, SNP MP Drew Hendry told BBC Politics Live: “Boris Johnson, like Donald Trump, is going to deny the democracy that people show or want to show in a public vote.” But the SNP MP was promptly blasted by BBC host Jo Coburn who pointed out: “What democracy?
“Boris Johnson would say he is respecting the result of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum when the people of Scotland voted no.
“Donald Trump is contesting the result of the 2020 presidential election that he hasn’t won.
“So what’s the comparison?”
He replied: “There are two very clear things.
“First of all the promises that were made in 2014 about Scotland being an equal partner have just not been delivered.
“The day after the referendum David Cameron came out on the steps of 10 Downing Street and talked about English votes for English laws.”
The First Minister said she will use next May’s Holyrood election to try to win a mandate to hold an independence referendum “in the early part of the new Parliament”.
While her opponents have criticised her for speaking about the issue during the pandemic, the SNP leader said in her closing speech to her party’s conference on Monday: “Independence is not a distraction from the task of post-Covid reconstruction.
“It is essential to getting it right.”
She said this is important “if we want to make sure the country we rebuild is the one we want it to be, with kindness, compassion, fairness, equality and enterprise at its heart, and not one built in the image of Boris Johnson and his band of Brexiteers”.
The First Minister said she accepts “many” Scots would “prefer a stronger Scottish Parliament to independence” but said the “hard truth” is this is not on offer from Westminster, as she accused the Tories of trying to take powers away from Holyrood.
With the UK’s Brexit transition period due to finish at the end of December, she criticised the UK Government for not extending it.
She claimed Brexit would be a “huge, damaging change at the best of times” but added that in “these most difficult of times it is unforgivable”.
The First Minister said the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, setting out how trade between the four nations of the UK will operate post-Brexit, is a “Trojan Horse that will allow Westminster to work its way into the very heart of the devolution settlement”.
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She said the “choice for Scotland is pressing” as the Holyrood election approaches, asking people: “Are we prepared to have the powers we voted for stripped away – at a time when we need them most?
“Are we prepared for our Scottish Parliament to be undermined and dragged down by Westminster?
“Or will we decide to make our Scottish Parliament independent?”
Ms Sturgeon said she will use that election to seek voters’ authority for a second independence referendum – something the Prime Minister has repeatedly said he will not grant.
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