Nicola Sturgeon accused of planning 'Brexit 2' with independence referendum despite global pandemic

Nicola Sturgeon was accused of being “oblivious to the irony” of planning an independence referendum while calling for an extension to the Brexit transition period by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was accused of planning Brexit 2 by Willie Rennie
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was accused of planning Brexit 2 by Willie Rennie

The First Minister was challenged on her party’s plans to potentially hold a second independence referendum in 2021 while the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing, with Willie Rennie labelling the plans equivalent to planning “Brexit 2”.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said: “We’ve had a glimpse in the last 48 hours at Dover of what happens when you break an economic partnership, yet the First Minister wants to repeat the same mistakes by this time next year with her referendum.

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"I know Christmas is a time for sequels, but we have now seen what Brexit 1 is like, yet the First Minister still wants Brexit 2, the break-up of another economic union. Why does the First Minister want another break-up by next Christmas?”

Ms Sturgeon responded by saying the fact Scotland is not independent was the only reason the country faces the prospect of a No Deal Brexit, due to come into place on January 1 if there is no deal.

She said: “That prospect of charting our own future, being responsible yes at times for our own mistakes but building our own success and prosperity instead of having our future foisted upon us by the likes of Boris Johnson and his band of Brexiteers.”

Mr Rennie highlighted the First Minsiter’s statement on Saturday when announcing the post-Christmas level four lockdown that she said it would be “unconscionable” for Brexit to continue during a pandemic while “oblivious to the irony that she plans to hold an independent referendum in the middle of a global pandemic”.

Repeating the argument an independence referendum was not the right thing to do, he added: “I want the crisis to stop, her plans would add to it.”

However Ms Sturgeon retorted by saying that Mr Rennie was providing a public service to those “really missing pantomimes” during a coronavirus-affected festive period.

She added: “I am not planning an independence referendum right now, in fact I put planning for an independence referendum on hold when the global pandemic struck.”

The First Minister added it was for the Scottish people to decide how they want society to be post-Covid-19.

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