Nicola Sturgeon has said unionist parties are “running scared” of indyRef2 and having a debate on the facts of Scottish independence.
The First Minister made the claims as she continues the push for a referendum on the future of the country.
She said parties opposing another ballot on the issue following 2014’s no vote are doing so because they are afraid that they have no credible argument against independence.
But Sturgeon’s opposition refute the claims with Scottish Labour suggesting “the only scary thing in Scottish politics was how far Nicola Sturgeon will sink in order to distract the public from her own failings”.
The UK Government said “now is not the time” for a referendum as people across Scotland “want both governments to work together”.
But Sturgeon said the “wealthier, fairer, happier” paper published by the Scottish Government on Tuesday showed the UK has been “left in the slow lane” by nations similar to Scotland.
The First Minister said: “What this week has shown is that the opponents of independence are running scared when it comes to the debate on Scotland’s future.
“They are running scared of the facts on independence, and they are running scared of the facts on the UK’s abysmal performance compared to other nations.
“The paper the Scottish Government published this week shows that the UK has been left in the slow lane when it comes to economic and social league tables by a whole raft of smaller, independent European nations.
“Those countries are wealthier, fairer and happier than the UK, and they show what Scotland can achieve with the powers of independence.
“The Tories and Labour have completely failed to engage with that point because they know it is true and because they can see how threadbare the case for continued Westminster rule over Scotland has become.
“The people of Scotland have secured a cast-iron democratic mandate to decide their own future.”Nicola Sturgeon
“They simply have no answer, so instead of engaging in that debate they prefer to engage in the politics of deflection, talking about issues of process when on the issues of substance the sands are shifting beneath their feet.
“But no matter how hard the Westminster parties try and run away from the debate, they cannot dodge reality.
“The people of Scotland have secured a cast-iron democratic mandate to decide their own future – and neither Boris Johnson nor any other UK Prime Minister has the right to block that mandate.
“With the publication of this week’s paper, the campaign for an independence referendum has now begun in earnest, and I am determined to deliver the legal, constitutional referendum the people of Scotland have voted for.”
The Scottish Government is in a constitutional stalemate over a second independence referendum with the UK Government maintaining its opposition to the idea.
A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “Now is not the time to be talking about another referendum.
“People across Scotland rightly want and expect to see both of their governments working together with a relentless focus on the issues that matter to them, their families and communities.
“That means tackling the cost of living, protecting our long-term energy security, leading the international response against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing our economy so that everyone has access to the opportunities, skills and jobs for the future.”
“The only scary thing in Scottish politics at the moment is the depths Nicola Sturgeon will sink to in order to distract from her own Government’s failures.”Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour spokesperson on the constitution
Scottish Labour spokesperson on the constitution Sarah Boyack said only her party could “boot Boris Johnson” out of government, and said that talk of a second referendum was a distraction from the SNP’s record in power.
She said: “The only scary thing in Scottish politics at the moment is the depths Nicola Sturgeon will sink to in order to distract from her own Government’s failures.
“Once again the SNP are ignoring reality, cherry-picking stats to suit their agenda and doing anything to deflect from their 15 years of failure. People want their politicians to get on with the day job.
“Hundreds of thousands of Scots are facing the choice between heating and eating and the best that this SNP Government can do is pluck dates out of a hat for another divisive referendum.
“The SNP’s obsession is a disappointing return to the politics of the past – the politics of strife and division.”
Donald Cameron from the Scottish Conservatives said another referendum campaign would only cause division and damage in a time when everyone should be “united”.
He said: “Closing the schools attainment gap, fixing NHS waiting times and dealing with the drug deaths crisis should be among the SNP’s priorities. But they’ve been discarded again.
“It’s no wonder ordinary people are furious at this latest independence-related stunt.
“The Scottish Conservatives are the strongest voice for everyone who wants the focus on Scotland’s recovery.”
A recent poll for STV News showed the country split down the middle with 50% saying they would vote yes and 50% saying they would vote no.
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