The Prime Minister will today outline her ‘roadmap’ plans for holding a second referendum on Scotland’s future in the UK to the Scottish Parliament. There will be a 20 minute speech to Holyrood by Ms Sturgeon on Tuesday, followed by 40 minutes of questions from opposition and backbench MSPs. Prior to her statement, Ms Sturgeon said it was time to “give people the democratic choice they voted for.”
The Prime Minister added: “The people of Scotland have elected a parliament that is committed to giving them a choice over independence, and that democratic will must be respected.
“In Scotland it is the people who are sovereign and always have been – and it is the will of the people that must prevail.
“The UK is either a partnership of consent or it is not a partnership worthy of the name. Westminster’s rule over Scotland cannot be based on anything but an agreed, voluntary partnership.
“It is time to give people the democratic choice they voted for, and then with independence to build a more prosperous, fairer country in a true partnership of equals between Scotland and our friends in the rest of the UK. “
Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said the Scottish government plans to vote in October next year.
But the Tory-led British government has refused to discuss its plans for a second referendum with the Prime Minister.
Questions remain about whether the Scottish government would call for a second referendum via a Section 30 injunction – a clause in the Scotland Act that would allow a legal referendum – before legislation is passed by the Scottish Parliament.
On the other hand, SNP ministers could legislate for a second ballot without Westminster’s consent through Holyrood – but the legislation could be quashed by the Supreme Court in a potential legal challenge.
Scottish Tory Constitution spokesman Donald Cameron MSP said: “The Prime Minister’s obsessive push for another divisive independence referendum is the height of self-indulgence and irresponsibility.
“In the final week before the summer recess, people want the SNP government to focus on the things that really matter, rather than wasting time and energy on a pretend poll.
“Right now, ministers should prioritize the global cost of living crisis, restore our NHS and recover our economy from the pandemic.
“It’s outrageous that Nicola Sturgeon has put all that on the back burner to push for another unwanted – possibly even illegal – referendum.”
A British government source claimed that Ms Sturgeon was in ‘cloud cuckoo’ country over her latest plans to break Britain.
They added: “Our position on a second referendum is very clear, now is not the time for division.
She [Nicola Sturgeon] and her government must be in cloud-cuckoo country if they think a referendum will now be approved.
“Until now, the Scottish Government has clearly failed to demonstrate the legitimacy of holding a referendum without our consent. [UK Government]†
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Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s desire to break up the UK is unattainable, obsessive and desperate.
“Nicola Sturgeon is ignoring anyone concerned about paying the bills or the sharp spike in Covid infections. It’s a kick in the teeth for health workers, the hundreds of thousands of people on the NHS waiting lists and anyone who believed the prime minister when she said education was the top priority.
“Dividing the UK is not the solution to these problems. Her obsession with breaking up the UK is a big part of the problem.”
Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar added: “The SNP is trying to drag Scotland back to the politics of the past rather than face the challenges of the present.
“It is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon is stepping up her efforts to sow division and strife as we see the chaos in her party and the failures of her government.”
Ms Sturgeon’s government has also been accused of wasting £1.2m in Scottish taxpayers’ money drawing up its new blueprint to split Britain.
SNP Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson confirmed in March that a senior official and 13 other officials at various pay scales were currently working on the plan.
But now it has emerged that the Prime Minister has increased the number of officials to 20 as she prepares to outline her plans for a second referendum.
Salaries for the recruits working on the plan range from £26,000 to £100,011, with the majority being in higher pay grades.
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A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Scottish government by pro-union group Scotland in Union reveals that the team consists of a senior official and 19 other officials late last month.
Among the team are 15 in the C reward, one of the highest ranks among Nicola Sturgeon’s army of civil servants, as well as a senior official who is considered director.
The blueprint is a set of documents that will help spark a “full, frank and constructive” debate on a second divorce vote in the coming months.
Alastair Cameron, Scotland’s director at Union, said: “This revelation shows a totally unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money by the SNP.
“These are senior, well-paid and knowledgeable civil servants who could devote their time to urgent matters such as reducing NHS waiting times or closing the qualification gap in our schools.
“Instead, they have been tasked by SNP ministers to work on a blueprint to divide the people of Scotland.”
He added: “The majority of people in Scotland do not want to leave the UK, and voters are vehemently opposed to another referendum.
“The Prime Minister must stop giving in to hardline nationalists and wasting public money on a hypothetical, unwanted referendum.
“Scotland has a brighter future as part of the UK, bringing people and communities together, sustaining the pound, enabling businesses to grow, investing more in public services, sharing our defense capabilities and creating more jobs.”