SNP MP grilled on Nicola Sturgeon’s push for independence – ‘COVID still here with us!’

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SNP MP Alyn Smith attempted to defend Nicola Sturgeon’s push for independence despite the pressure from the coronavirus crisis. While speaking on BBC’s Politics Live with Jo Coburn, Mr Smith claimed there was growing support for a referendum on independence. But the BBC host questioned the SNP’s timing and whether the Government was focussing on the wrong aspects of leadership at this time.

She said: “Independence is obviously important, as you say, and it is what the SNP is about.

“But it is also about focus because back in March you paused your campaign for an independence referendum so you could focus all your resources on tackling coronavirus.

“The virus is still with us, why are you bringing back the independence campaign now?”

Speaking ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Mr Smith replied: “There is a desire in Scotland to bring it forward.

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“Brexit has proven the democratic deficit that exists in the UK.

“You are about to see a pantomime with Prime Minster’s Questions.

“The opposition pretends to hold the Government to account and they pretend to be held to account.

“This demonstrates on a daily basis that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.

Ms Coburn argued there are more pressing issues the SNP could be focussing on rather than independence.

She said: “Alyn we are in the middle of a health crisis as you have acknowledged.

“You are currently dealing with local outbreaks and lockdowns.

“Is this the right time to be looking at constitutional issues?”

Mr Smith argued the SNP is focussing on a multitude of issues and has seen growing support for independence.

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He said: “That is one issue amongst many which amount to £2 billion green and energy investment.

“We have announced retraining for 10,000 people facing redundancy.

“We are incorporating the UN convention and rights of the child into domestic Scots law.

“There is a lot of stuff in the programme for Government which is not actually about the election it is the programme for Government.

“We are a pro-independence party and the people of Scotland have a right to choose their own future.”

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