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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “self-indulgence and distraction” after publishing a new paper on Scottish independence.
The document, which detailed what the Scottish Government called a “democratic deficit” at the heart of the union, is the second in a series of papers expected over the coming months which will refresh the prospectus for independence.
Last month, the First Minister laid out plans for a referendum to be held on October 19 2023, with Boris Johnson rejecting a request for the powers to hold a referendum in one of his last acts before announcing he would step down as Prime Minister.
The Lord Advocate also referred a prospective Bill on independence to the UK Supreme Court to ascertain its legality.
The First Minister used her speech on Thursday to take aim at both the Tories and Labour, saying that the UK faced a “shift to the right” under a new prime minister, while accusing Labour of “giving the proverbial two fingers” by saying the party would refuse a push for another referendum if it won back Downing Street.
Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said: “This speech was the height of SNP self-indulgence and distraction.
“Nicola Sturgeon is all too happy to shamefully use her podium at Bute House to push her political obsession and have valuable civil servants’ time and resources wasted on working on the SNP’s only priority.
“She knows the vast majority of people in Scotland don’t want another divisive independence referendum next year.
“They want her Government focused on tackling the global cost-of-living crisis, helping our NHS to get through the ever-increasing backlogs in treatment and supporting our post-pandemic recovery.
“Yet, instead of getting on with the job at hand, she is using her official residence to spout SNP propaganda, which will only paralyse Scotland with years of bitter division and distraction.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the papers so far had been a “cocktail of wishful thinking and fearmongering”.
“Bills are soaring, NHS waiting lists are spiralling and trains are barely running – but Scotland has two Governments ignoring these issues to stoke division, play political games, and make impossible promises.
“Nicola Sturgeon tells Scots they can’t expect a better future without independence – but Scottish Labour are fighting to build a better future here and now.
“While the SNP reheat their one and only solution to all Scotland’s problems, Scottish Labour have set out real, credible plans to renew democracy in every part of the UK by establishing a Senate of Nations and Regions and prioritising co-operation.”
Lib Dem deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain said businesses “shudder” when the First Minister talks about independence, adding: “We should not repeat the mistakes of Brexit by putting up new borders and breaking up the UK.”