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by Louise Wilson
01 April 2021
Alex Salmond says next Scottish Government should begin negotiations for independence


Alex Salmond says next Scottish Government should begin negotiations for independence

The next Scottish Government should begin negotiating for independence - rather than specifically a referendum - after the election, Alex Salmond has said.

The former first minister and leader of the new Alba Party suggested “pigeonholing” the constitutional debate into a referendum was not the right way to proceed.

And he argued these negotiations would have a better chance of success with a majority pro-independence parliament behind the government.

He said: “The position of Alba is that the Scottish Parliament should be consulted and should give a direction to the Scottish Government to begin independence negotiations with the UK Government.

“As part of these independence negotiations, the UK government might wish to put down stipulations for a referendum, for consultations to assure themselves that independence is the decided wish of the Scottish people.”

When asked about the timing of indyref2, Salmond said “pigeonholing” the debate into negotiations over a vote which would require a Section 30 order to be granted by the UK government was not the best way forward.

He said: “I don’t think you should tell in advance your negotiating opponent what exactly you’re going to do or the timescale you’re going to do it on.

“I think you should begin negotiations, and these negotiations have an infinitely higher change of succeeding if the First Minister has a substantial independence majority in the parliament back than they would have if she’s in a precarious parliamentary position with regard to independence.”

He suggested other routes to independence could include the Scottish Parliament holding a vote without a Section 30 or taking domestic or international legal action.

Salmond also confirmed his party would shortly be putting forward plans to “accelerate economic recovery from lockdown”.

He said there had been no plan “from any quarter”, outwith the emergency measures relating to lockdown, to avoid an “economic tsunami”.

He said: “The pandemic’s been a global human tragedy but if we are to avoid it turning into an economic tragedy of immense proportions, then the economic measures are going to have to meet the scale of that challenge.”

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