SNP MP says forcing ‘hard Brexit’ on Scotland is like locking up wife to deny her divorce

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Scotland Secretary Alister Jack called on the SNP to respect the result of the 2014 referendum after an SNP MP has compared Scotland to a wife trapped in a marriage during a Commons exchange on the Union and the issue of a second independence referendum. Mr Jack explained Scotland would have to wait at least 25 years for another vote on independence. Despite this, Nicola Sturgeon announced earlier this year she plans to publish draft legislation in 2021 for a second referendum.

The SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford said: “I hope the Secretary of State isn’t suggesting there won’t be another one for 40 years.

“He seems to think the way to strengthen the Union is by forcing a hard Brexit on Scotland against our will, taking an axe to devolution with the Internal Market Bill and denying any democratic choice on Scotland’s future until adults like me are dead.

“On that basis, does he think the best recipe for a happy marriage is to lock up the wife, take away her chequebook and just keep refusing a divorce?”

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Jack said: “I think it’s quite straightforward.

“I think people should respect democracy as I’ve said in a previous question.

“We’re respecting democracy saying we’re acknowledging once in a generation.

“We don’t think that Scotland should thrown into the uncertainty of neverendums and it certainly is very straightforward.

“A generation by any calculation is 25 years and frankly, you just have to accept that and focus on what matters which is recovering from this pandemic and us all pulling together.”

Fellow SNP MP Pete Wishart compared the Scotland Office to the Trump White House over the question of a new referendum.

He said: “He’s doing such a fantastic job in strengthening the Union that support for independence is at a historic high and there’s been a sustained majority all year. Saying no to a majority in Scotland is only going to drive support for independence even higher.

“The Scottish people are not finding this democracy denial funny any more, so what’s the difference between denying a majority at the Trump White House and denying a majority in the Scotland Office?”

SNP Scotland spokeswoman Mhairi Black pressed Mr Jack over his indication that the UK Government intends to refuse another independence referendum “for a generation”.

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She said: “Alister Jack has recently said that the job retention scheme will last into next year, but he’s also said that there will be no referendums on Scotland’s future for a generation.

“Now, of course the Edinburgh Agreement, signed by a Tory prime minister David Cameron, provided the legal framework for the 2014 referendum. So I’m wondering, can (Mr Jack) quote where it says in that agreement that there cannot be another referendum?”

Mr Jack responded: “While we’re all fighting this pandemic and trying to secure and support people’s jobs, it beggars belief that the SNP carry on talking about independence referendums and about separation.

“I find it really quite disappointing, but the answer to her question, it was mentioned many times in the White Paper that the SNP Government produced in advance of that referendum, once in a generation was mentioned on a number of pages.”

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