Michael Russell warns against indyref before Scotland is ‘persuaded and ready’
Scottish independence should only be pursued when voters are persuaded of it, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell has warned.
Speaking at SNP conference in Glasgow, Russell told delegates Scotland and England would work “better together” as neighbouring independent countries, but that the SNP should not be impatient to rush into a second independence referendum.”
He added the size of support for the SNP and Scottish independence should be used with the “utmost care”.
“It can only happen when we find the right moment and the right arguments to make it happen,” he said.
“Our job as a party and as a Government is to both make sure that Scotland flourishes, no matter the circumstances but also to ensure that – at the right moment – the choice of independence can be made.
“The right moment – not the most comfortable moment or the moment that best relieves our natural impatience. The moment at which our country is persuaded, ready and determined to win.”
Russell also said devolution within the UK was under threat from the parts of the Conservative party who are pursuing a hard Brexit.
“A no deal Brexit is their ideal destination, allowing them to pretend that Britannia still rules the waves. And they will waive the rules to get it,” he said.
“So I fear that if they have their way it is not just Europe that is dispensable. Devolution is dispensable too, as are Scotland, and Wales and even Northern Ireland – where the threat to devolution is also a threat to peace and security.”
A poll for the Times today revealed 33 per cent of English voters believe the UK Government cabinet should not include any Scottish MPs. The figure is even higher among Conservative voters, at 48 per cent.