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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he would “boycott” an independence referendum if it is held illegally.
Speaking to Channel 4 News on Tuesday evening, Mr Ross said he would not support a “wildcard” referendum after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested the Scottish Government would seek to hold a vote without a section 30 order if the UK Government does not grant one.
Ms Sturgeon launched the first in a series of papers setting the scene for a renewed case for Scottish Independence at Bute House on Tuesday morning.
Mr Ross told Channel 4 News: “This is not the priority for people across Scotland right now. There are far more pressing issues to deal with: coming out of Covid and the recovery of the country after that; dealing with unemployment; dealing with education issues; getting our NHS on better footing.
The SNP's latest push for indyref2 is the wrong priority – at the worst possible time.
After Covid, in a global cost of living crisis, we should be focused on rebuilding, not dividing Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon should give it a rest – and focus on people's real priorities.
— Douglas Ross MP MSP (@Douglas4Moray) June 14, 2022
“That’s the priority people want politicians and the Chamber behind us to be focusing on and if Nicola Sturgeon would be so reckless and irresponsible to go ahead with an illegal wild card referendum then I wouldn’t support it and I would urge people to boycott it.
“Nicola Sturgeon has gone further than she’s ever gone before, and suggesting she would hold an illegal wild card referendum. I think that is completely reckless. It’s unacceptable for the First Minister to even be threatening that. And I would say I would have absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said her duty is to the people of Scotland and not to Boris Johnson.
“My duty, as the democratically elected First Minister, is to the people of Scotland, it is not to Boris Johnson or to any Tory prime minister,” she said.
“This is a UK Government that has no respect for democracy.
“That means if we are to uphold democracy here in Scotland we must forge a way forward, if necessary, without a Section 30 order.”