‘You cannot be distracted!’ Nicola Sturgeon faces criticism for focusing on wrong issues

Nicola Sturgeon grilled on coronavirus death rates in Scotland

The First Minister has repeatedly insisted she wants an indyref2 vote to be in the early part of the next Scottish parliamentary term, which would follow the Holyrood election on May 6. She is hoping to pressure Prime Minister Boris Johnson into granting MSPs the power to call another referendum if she wins the election. But there has been growing impatience from within the SNP over exploring alternative ways to hold a referendum without getting Mr Johnson’s permission, as he has made it clear he would refuse to allow another vote.

Ms Sturgeon has also faced criticism from within her own party for abandoning plans to hold a second vote twice in recent years.

It comes as the latest figures released by the Scottish Government this afternoon said the total number of positive coronavirus cases had risen by 693 to 101,475, with a further 33 deaths.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Scotland Conservative leader Douglas Ross warned Ms Sturgeon “cannot be distracted” by internal party disagreements over independence during the pandemic.

He said: “As we see the first vaccines rolled out and we try and rebuild our communities after Covid, that must be where Nicola Sturgeon’s focus is at all times.

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“While robust debates are healthy in political parties, the First Minister cannot be distracted by internal party squabbles and disagreements.

“We must work together in order to ensure we can return to a sense of normal life and protect as many jobs and livelihoods as possible.

“That’s the issues the people of Scotland want the SNP Government to be focused on.”

MP for Edinburgh South West Joanna Cherry QC said on Friday the UK had no constitutional restrictions that prevented Scottish independence.

She added the SNP should seek another referendum legal option.

She said last week: “The balance of legal opinion says it’s not clear whether it is within Holyrood’s competence to hold a referendum.

“You’ve got this crowd-funded case going through the courts at this moment, but it would be better to have a carefully crafted bill, which would need the support of the law officer, and which would pass because of the majority.

“Then, an interested party could challenge it, and under the Scotland Act the lord advocate himself could refer the question to the courts as to whether it is competent or not.

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“Regardless of the route I suspect it would end up in the Supreme Court, and the prime minister could not ignore that.”

Another SNP MP and former Chief Cabinet Secretary of Scotland, Kenny MacAskill, said the SNP should not wait until after the May elections to seek independence.

He told independent blog Wings over Scotland: “Probably the UK has never been weakened except during the war.

“This is the perfect time for Scotland to seek independence.”

Mr Ross previously criticised the SNP leader for “stoking up her agenda” while the pandemic shows no signs of being over just yet.

He told Express.co.uk: “Even in the middle of a global pandemic, Nicola

Sturgeon wants to have another divisive independence referendum.

“She’s completely out of touch with the Scottish people and is only interested in stoking up her grievance agenda.

“Every vote for the Scottish Conservatives is a vote to respect that once in a generation result.”

Back in 2014, Scottish people voted against independence with a majority of 55 percent.

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