Sturgeon plots ‘final piece in the jigsaw’ with new indy taskforce to rip Scotland from UK
John Curtice expresses doubts over chances of Indyref2 in 2021
Depute leader Keith Brown has announced the creation of an independence task force as the Nationalists ramp up plans to rip Scotland out of the UK ahead of the Holyrood elections in May. The task force, working within SNP headquarters, will lead on strategy around independence as the party heads towards a referendum in early stages of the next parliamentary term.
The senior MSP, who will be the new campaign director, said: “And now we’re ramping things up.
“The Independence Taskforce will bring strategic direction and expertise which I believe is the final piece in the jigsaw that will help deliver independence.”
However, across the Scottish political spectrum today, Unionist parties hit out at the SNP over the controversial announcement.
Lord Jack MacConnell, a former Labour First Minister of Scotland claimed Scots would be “choking on their breakfast” at the thought of a second independence vote.
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Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader branded the announcement as “shameless” and added: “The SNP are ramping up their push for indyref2 this year while the rest of Scotland is worried about their jobs and when they’ll get the Covid vaccine.
The Moray MP stressed: “They are stuck in the Holyrood bubble with no clue about the priorities of people across Scotland.
“We need to focus on building up Scotland, not breaking up our country.”
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, added: “The First Minister promised that the SNP wouldn’t start a referendum in the middle of a pandemic, but off they go.
“They can’t help themselves.
“Thousands of people are ill with Covid. Business and workers are desperately worried about their immediate future.
“Despite the promises of the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, nationalists will always put their own interests first. Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.”
Anas Sarwar, who announced he was standing for the leadership of Scottish Labour after Richard Leonard resigned on Thursday urged the SNP led Scottish Government to set up a taskforce on tackling COVID-19.
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The Scottish Labour Constitution spokesperson and Glasgow MSP said: “The SNP’s priorities are wrong. Right now, political leaders should be focused on the coronavirus crisis, the vaccination programme and creating stability for the people of Scotland.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, what is needed is a taskforce on jobs, health and education – not on independence.”
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, told Express.co.uk: “Amid a public health pandemic when people are losing their lives and livelihoods, the idea that we need a taskforce on separation shows just how out of touch the SNP is.
“Imagine thinking that what we need right now is a taskforce focused on dividing communities and building borders, rather than bringing people together and rebuilding our country.
“The SNP is obsessed with how to tear families and friends apart, but we are stronger together as part of the UK and we can ensure a successful recovery by working together.”
As part of the new task force, a “high-profile” Yes campaigner will soon be announced to lead the project which will be announced in due course.
Mr Brown added: “I really believe that when I make the appointment it will also fire up the wider Yes movement.
“The growing momentum behind independence, and a fresh referendum on our future, is unstoppable.
“Scotland has been dragged out of the EU against our will by a right-wing Tory government we didn’t vote for.”
The latest opinion polls show First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is on course for a Holyrood majority at the next election.
The First Minister has impressed “significant chunks” of voters who backed the Scottish Conservatives or Scottish Labour at the last general election, according to a Savanta ComRes poll.
The survey of 1,016 people aged over 16 between January 8 and 13 found more than a third (37 percent) of Labour’s 2019 voters are more likely to back the SNP at the next election than they were, along with 13 percent of Scottish Conservative supporters.
It also found that 52 percent of voters think there should be a referendum on Scotland’s future in the next five years.
However, Boris Johnson had said he would not agree to a second independence referendum.
A UK Government source said: “A Scottish independence referendum was once in a generation and we will honour that.”
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