Scottish trade body will take ‘no lessons’ from Sturgeon following independence claims

Nicola Sturgeon: 'No lessons in democracy' says CEO

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Struan Stevenson, CEO of Scottish Business, spoke to Express.co.uk about Ms Sturgeon’s independence bid and what it would mean for companies in Scotland. Mr Stevenson explained members of his trade body have penned an open letter to Nicola Sturgeon begging her to focus on Scotland’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic rather than independence issues. The pro-unionist added he would take “no lessons” on democracy from Ms Sturgeon during a fiery put down of the First Minister.

Mr Stevenson discussed his group’s open letter to Ms Sturgeon and concerns Scottish businesses have with independence.

But the former politician attacked Ms Sturgeon after she claimed the SNP have a mandate to hold an independence referendum – because of the May Holyrood elections.

Ms Sturgeon made the claim as she believes the Greens and SNP, both independent supporting parties, hold the most seats in Holyrood and therefore have the backing of the Scottish public.

Mr Stevenson attacked the suggestion, remarking: “We keep hearing the message from Nicola Sturgeon that this most recent result in the Holyrood elections gives her a mandate for independence.

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“The will of the country is now we must have another independence referendum and no one who believes in democracy could deny the Scots the right to have such a referendum.

“The trouble is, if you believe in democracy, you believe in the result of the previous referendum in 2014.”

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Mr Stevenson was also asked whether Scottish businesses would decide to pack up and leave for England if independence was achieved.

He replied: “Well, absolutely, I mean we do four times more business with England than we ever did with the EU.

“Sixty three percent of our exports go to England, so how the SNP can figure that Brexit was bad therefore the result of Brexit means we want “Scexit”.

“Which really sounds like cutting off our nose to spite their face.”

Mr Stevenson then referred to a survey that suggested around one in five Scottish businesses would leave if independence was granted.

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A 2014 Scottish Chambers of Commerce poll found 18 percent of businesses would leave Scotland with 38 percent citing “uncertainties” as their main reason.

An Ipsos MORI poll in 2020 also found one in five business executives saying independence would be bad for their companies.

Surprisingly, four percent said they don’t think Scotland will become independent in the future.

Mr Stevenson also revealed to Express.co.uk that some Scottish Business members who signed his open letter against independence had backed the referendum in 2014.

He said: “Some of those big names, you may have noticed, were previously people who voted for the SNP in 2014.

“And they have completely changed their minds since 2014 and because they see that the SNP are not focusing on business and the economy in the way that they should be.”

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