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A SENIOR SNP MP has accused Tory ministers of attempting to “imprison” Scotland in the Union amid calls for a full debate about democracy across the UK.
Pete Wishart asked the Government to organise a debate about democracy in the UK, amid claims it has been put in “some sort of Tory deep freeze” where people cannot change their minds.
But Commons leader Mark Spencer described Mr Wishart as the “master of smoke and mirrors”, adding the SNP MP did not want to focus on other matters such as the “disastrous” education system in Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined plans to hold a second vote on Scottish independence on October 19, 2023.
She has pre-empted court action by the UK Government and asked the Supreme Court to give a view on whether Holyrood can hold its own referendum without UK Government permission.
If no legal routes are open to a re-run of the 2014 poll, Ms Sturgeon said that the next UK general election would be fought as a “de facto referendum” by the SNP.
Speaking at business questions in the Commons, Mr Wishart said: “We need a debate about democracy across the UK.
“We need to properly consider why this Government thinks it’s okay to try and legally imprison a nation in what is supposed to be a voluntary Union of equals.
“We need to figure out why this Government seems to believe that somehow democracy can be put in some sort of Tory deep freeze where people aren’t allowed to change their minds and where parliamentary majorities don’t seem to matter.”
He added: “We need to debate why a nation should continually endure governments it didn’t vote for, why they think our country is better governed by these Tories rather than the people who live and work in Scotland, and we need to consider what Scotland has done to whatever almighty is out there to end up being governed by this particular Prime Minister.
“We have to ask is this broken Brexit Britain the best that Scotland can ever be and ever aspire to?”
Mr Spencer, in his reply, said: “Why are other countries, of a similar size, bouncing forward quicker than Scotland?
“Because they don’t have the anchor of the SNP running their government and they don’t have them holding them back.”
Earlier, Labour’s shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire described the Scottish Government’s plans for a second independence vote as an “illegal referendum in Scotland”.
The Labour MP added: “The First Minister gave the game away in her statement to the Scottish Parliament. It seems it wasn’t about a referendum, it was about the next general election.
“Nicola Sturgeon seems to be happy for the 700,000 people on an NHS waiting list in Scotland to take a back seat while constitutional debates take precedence for the SNP.”
She added: “But I notice the striking similarities with the Conservative Westminster government who want to make the next election all about cultural wedge issues.
“The best way to protect and strengthen the UK is clearly a Labour government that delivers for every nation and region of our country.
“The SNP has no greater asset in their attempt to break up the UK than the Prime Minister. Does the leader really think that propping up this failed Prime Minister is helping the Union?”
Mr Spencer replied: “She can spend her time here complaining and claiming that they have a plan, but the simple fact is the Labour Party do not have a plan for the United Kingdom. The Government is getting on with solving the challenges that we face.”