Borders politicians Rachael Hamilton MSP and John Lamont MP have strongly criticised the First Minister’s plans to hold a second independence referendum next year.
On Tuesday afternoon, the First Minister announced her plans to hold a referendum next autumn on whether Scotland should become an independent nation or remain part of the United Kingdom.
Despite the legal basis for holding such a referendum remaining unclear, the First Minister plans to press ahead with plans, setting the date for 19th October 2023.
Ms Hamilton and Mr Lamont have warned that such a move would be reckless, particularly given the issues Scotland is facing.
They argue that tackling cost of living crisis, reducing NHS wait times and backlogs, and supporting the rest of the United Kingdom in helping Ukraine should be the focus of the Scottish Government at this moment in time.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“Scotland, like the rest of the world, is facing challenging period economically. I know from conversations I have had with Borderers that the cost of living crisis is starting to hit home.
“We have been seeing record waiting times in hospitals, a widening attainment gap and Putin’s continued aggression in Ukraine causing global insecurity.
“It is baffling that Nicola Sturgeon thinks that her obsession with independence should come before addressing the real issues people in Scotland are facing.
“After her statement today, I asked the First Minister why she believed independence was more important than addressing these issues. Her answer showed that independence will always come before the priorities of people in Scotland."
John Lamont MP said:
“Scots do not want another independence referendum next year.
“Yet Sturgeon is once again focusing taxpayers’ money on referendums rather than on the issues that matter to people like the NHS, schools and jobs.
“When I speak to Borderers they are concerned about the cost of living and the crisis in Ukraine. That’s what I, and the UK Government, will be focusing on.”