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Chances of indyref2 in short-term ‘likely nil’: SNP MP

Ex-justice secretary Kenny MacAskill - and newly-elected MP - said a longer wait is 'no bad thing'.

Kenny MacAskill: Critical issues from 2014 not resolved. STV
Kenny MacAskill: Critical issues from 2014 not resolved.

An SNP MP has said the likelihood of a second Scottish independence referendum in the short-term is “likely nil”.

Former SNP justice secretary Kenny MacAskill – and newly-elected MP for East Lothian – said a longer wait for a new independence vote would be “no bad thing”.

He made the comments in the forthcoming issue of the Scottish Left Review, as reported by the Herald.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a ballot in the latter part of 2020, although the UK Government has repeatedly said it will not sanction the transfer of powers to Holyrood to do so.

MacAskill said: “The likelihood of a referendum in the short-term is slim. Indeed, more likely nil.

“That additional time is no bad thing given the failure to have resolved some critical issues from 2014 or to have restored the campaigning machine that was so effective back then.”

Boris Johnson has stated his opposition to a second independence referendum but Scottish secretary Alister Jack said the Prime Minister will give “careful consideration” to the First Minister’s request last month to be handed the powers to hold another ballot.

In his piece for the magazine, MacAskill also called for those on the left of politics to unite following the Conservatives’ re-election to office in December.

The ex-minister said: “We face an attack upon the social infrastructure of our country.

“The welfare state and even the NHS are in (Boris) Johnson’s sights, whatever pledges he has made.

“Far from rolling back the gig economy, it’s likely to morph into something larger.”

He added: “Bringing Scottish elected politicians and parties together is essential.

“Whether that’s a constitutional convention as before, a convocation of elected parliamentarians from both chambers or a wider gathering can be discussed and agreed.

“Whoever calls it and whoever attends, it must be held soon. Building on the anger that currently exists rather than allowing despondency to settle in is required.

“It must address the high-level constitutional challenge and seek to create unity either behind independence or just the Scottish people’s right to choose their own future.

“It can be the basis to show the world that it’s not one party but the people who are demanding it.”

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