Labour’s Ian Murray has said the Scottish Parliament is being used to “manage decline” by Nicola Sturgeon’s government in the push for independence.
The Shadow Scottish secretary, Labour’s only MP north of the border, told GB News that while he did not think Scotland would split from the UK soon, opponents would fight “very, very hard” to prevent it happening in a fresh vote.
Speaking to Gloria De Piero, he was quizzed about the chances of Scotland ever securing independence during his lifetime and he said: “I absolutely don’t think I will live to see it, because it just doesn’t work. They just cannot find a viable way of promoting a proposition that works.”
Next month the Supreme Court will hear the Scottish Government’s referral of its IndyRef2 legislation, which is being challenged by the UK Government.
If the court rules in favour of Scottish ministers, the First Minister has said there would be a vote on Scotland’s place in the UK on October 19 2023.
If the vote is not allowed, Ms Sturgeon said, the next general election would be used as a “de-facto independence referendum”.
Edinburgh South MP Mr Murray told the broadcaster: “Nicola Sturgeon has said that if they lose a second one, they’ll have a third.
“And all this stuff about mandates, about Brexit, about the Tories. All of the excuses that they give for another referendum are all the excuses that were given the day after the last one.”
He added: “So, we’re just finding an excuse and a trigger to have one.
“And as all that’s happening, and I see it in my own constituency day in, day out, is: the NHS is getting worse, educational attainment gap’s widening, transport is dreadful, the economy is slipping behind the rest of the UK, the number of higher rate taxpayers is diminishing, the demographics are much older, and therefore all the problems that comes with that.”
Mr Murray said that “none of that’s being dealt with”, and added: “It’s just all Westminster’s fault: ‘So vote for independence.’
“And I just think at some point, something will break, and Scottish voters will go: ‘We can’t go on like this.’
“And maybe that’ll take another referendum, you know, I don’t want one, we shouldn’t have one, if we end up having one, we’ll fight very, very hard to stay in the United Kingdom.
“But something’s going to have to break to get out of this. Otherwise, we’re going to stay on this constitutional merry-go-round and things are just going to get worse.
“This Scottish Government essentially uses the Scottish Parliament to manage decline.”
Ross Greer, a Scottish Green MSP, said it was “not unusual to hear Labour talking down Scotland and its ambitions, but you can always rely on their last Scottish MP standing to take it to ludicrous new lengths”.
“Imagine looking at successful independent countries of Scotland’s size like New Zealand or Finland, which outperform the UK on almost every important measure, and still having the brass neck to suggest that independence uniquely wouldn’t work for us,” he said.
“While Labour continually fails to hold the UK Government to account over the cost-of-living crisis and Brexit, their councillors in places like Edinburgh and Stirling are striking deals with the Tories, putting their anti-independence obsession ahead of protecting communities from the Conservative party.
“The Scottish Greens on the other hand believe in democracy and in Scotland’s right to choose its own future, a question the pro-independence parties won the right to put to the public with our victory at last year’s Holyrood election.
“We have no doubt that when people are given that choice next year they will vote for a fairer, greener independent Scotland in Europe.”
The Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens entered into a powersharing agreement after the Holyrood elections in August last year, which resulted in the appointment of two Green MSPs as ministers.
Mr Greer said: “Just look at what the Scottish Government has done with the powers it does have, like introducing free bus travel for young people and introducing the Scottish Child Payment to tackle the scandalous child poverty levels which have resulted from more than a decade of Tory government at Westminster.”
The MSP added: “Voters have noticed that when push comes to shove, Scottish Labour will always take the side of the Westminster establishment rather than defend Scotland’s right to choose.”