IndyRef2: Nick Robinson grills SNP's John Swinney
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BBC Radio host Nick Robinson grilled SNP’s John Swinney after his party leader Nicola Sturgeon announced plans on Tuesday for a second vote on Scottish Independence to be held in October next year. Mr Robinson questioned why the Scottish Government under the SNP would wish to leave the country’s biggest economic market in the form of the United Kingdom.
Mr Robinson pressed the SNP Deputy Leader: “At a time of economic crisis, it would take Scotland out of its biggest market. Why would you want to do that?”
“What Scotland being a member of the European Union as an independent country would do would enable us to have access to the largest single market in the world,” replied Mr Swinney.
The BBC Radio host pressed: “Well if you were able to persuade them to do that, I’m asking you why you want to repeat the Brexit process, which is to voluntarily leave your biggest economic market?”
Mr Swinney answered: “I have absolutely no intention of repeating the folly of Brexit, which was the mistake of the Conservative Government and it has inflicted enormous economic damage on Scotland.
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“Interestingly, the North of Ireland which remains part of the single market essentially under the Northern Ireland Protocol is prospering significantly in as part of those arrangements.”
Mr Robinson hit back: “Well you say you have no intention of repeating it Mr Sweeney but you would be doing exactly the same!
“There are border checks in Northern Ireland as a result of the UK leaving its principal market and you are proposing that Scotland should leave its principal market the UK, there will inevitably have to be border checks.
“As a result of that and economic consequences.”
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Mr Swinney answered: “What we’re proposing is that Scotland should have access to the largest single market in the world and be able to emulate some of the economic performance of a range of small European countries, we published a paper on this data just a couple of weeks ago.”
Ms Sturgeon’s Government has published a referendum bill outlining plans for the secession vote to take place on October 19, 2023.
She also said she would be writing to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for permission to hold a consultative referendum, but had already set in motion plans to get the legal authority should he try to block her.
“The issue of independence cannot be suppressed. It must be resolved democratically. And that must be through a process that is above reproach and commands confidence,” Sturgeon told lawmakers in the devolved Scottish Parliament.
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“What I am not willing to do, what I will never do, is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister.”
Voters in Scotland, which has a population of around 5.5 million, rejected independence in 2014.
Pro-independence parties won a majority in the elections last year and Sturgeon, under pressure from some in her own party, had promised to hold a vote by the end of 2023. Polls suggest a vote would be too close to call.
Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party, which is in opposition in Scotland, strongly oppose a referendum, saying the issue was settled in 2014 when Scots voted against independence by 55 percent to 45 percent.
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