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by Jenni Davidson
01 February 2021
Douglas Ross challenges Nicola Sturgeon to a debate on indyref2

Douglas Ross - Image credit: Scottish Parliament

Douglas Ross challenges Nicola Sturgeon to a debate on indyref2

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has challenged SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to a debate on indyref2.

The call comes in response to the SNP’s recent publication of an 11-point ‘roadmap’ to a second independence referendum.

The SNP plan says a ‘legal referendum’ will be held after the coronavirus pandemic if there is a pro-independence majority following May’s Scottish Parliament election.

There have been suggestions from some in the party, including constitution secretary Mike Russell and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, that a referendum could take place this year – something Sturgeon has not ruled out.

In a speech today responding to the calls, Ross said he felt “sheer outrage” at the SNP launching independence plans during the pandemic and called on the SNP leader to defend them.

He also said that the Scottish Conservatives meet the “renewed threat of indyref2” with a “renewed push to stop them in their tracks”.

Ross said: “We are living under a national lockdown and in the middle of a global pandemic.

 “The Scottish Fiscal Commission are predicting our economy and job market won’t return to normal until about 2024.

 “It is the duty of all politicians to come together and focus on the national interest in a time of crisis. The public expects 100 per cent focus on the vaccine rollout and our recovery.

“In the face of increasingly stronger threats of indyref2 from the SNP, I don’t have the luxury, or the choice, to completely put politics aside.

“We are going to need to have a COVID-election. And my party will fight that election as hard as we have ever done.

“We will match the SNP’s renewed threat of indyref2 this year, with a renewed push to stop them in their tracks, just as we did in 2016 and every year since.

“The SNP are not holding back. They’ve taken the gloves off and they’re going full-throttle for indyref2 right now.

“Which is why I am challenging Nicola Surgeon to a debate this month on Scotland’s future.

“If she believes that this referendum plan is an essential part of Scotland’s economic recovery from coronavirus, then she should explain it to the Scottish people.

“So let’s not wait for the election.

“Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader, let’s you and I debate our respective positions right now.

“If she thinks that now is the time to talk about a referendum, then there should be scrutiny of her plan.

“If she wants to return to party politics, then this is how political leaders put their ideas across, not in government press conferences.

“I won’t allow the SNP’s plan, to wreck our recovery, to go unchallenged and my side of the argument unheard.

“So, if she is not prepared to disown this plan, then she should be prepared to defend it.”

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