SNP’s John Swinney discusses timing of independence referendum
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Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled her party’s “transformational” manifesto, but said she could go further if Scotland was independent. Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson hit out at the “giveaways that the SNP have been springing out of hats” during the election campaign. John Swinney has insisted the SNP will not hold a referendum until the Covid recovery is “stable”.
Speaking to BBC Scotland’s the Nine, Mr Swinney said: “We’ve basically got to get ourselves into a position of stability in the handling of Covid.
“We’ve obviously made significant advances in that respect by the decisive action that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP government have taken over the last 12 months.”
He added: “The first minister has been absolutely crystal clear that she will remain focused on taking all of the steps necessary to get the pandemic under control.
“Once we are in that position of stability, then of course we can consider the issue of an independence referendum.
“And how that enables Scotland to have the powers to make sure that the recovery from Covid is on the lines of which we would all be comfortable in Scotland.”
It comes as a new survey suggests that 60 percent of Labour supporters across the UK back another independence referendum “in principle” in the next few years, and 56 percent think the party should too.
The YouGov study, which spoke to 1,073 Labour members between March 17 and March 24, found that while supporters in the rest of the UK believe there should be another vote, just 31 percent in Scotland feel the same – with 61 percent against the idea and 8 percent undecided.
However, the weighted sample in Scotland for the poll was just 43 people.
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Thirty percent of UK-wide respondents do not back another referendum, while 10 percent said they do not know.
Most support for another referendum within Labour is in older age groups, with 63 percent of 50-64-year-olds and 64 percent of those older than 65 supporting a second vote, compared to 52 percent in both the 18-24 and 25-49 age groups.
Supporters also appear to break with the messaging from the leadership of the party, which has been steadfastly against another referendum.
Scottish leader Anas Sarwar has said the next parliamentary session at Holyrood should focus on the recovery from Covid-19.
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The poll found 56 percent believe the party should publicly back another vote, while 28 percent said it should not and 16 percent are undecided.
The disparity in the party north of the border continued with that question, as just 28 percent of Scottish Labour members believe the party should support another referendum, compared to 53 percent who do not and 19 percent who are undecided.
SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “Keir Starmer is completely out of touch with Scotland and his own party members, who overwhelmingly support Scotland’s right to choose our own future in a post-pandemic independence referendum.
“The Labour Party ruined its reputation in Scotland by backing Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, supporting austerity cuts, imposing Trident nuclear weapons, and working hand-in-hand with the Tories in Better Together.
“It risks falling into terminal decline if it continues to side with Boris Johnson to deny democracy.”
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