Nicola Sturgeon accused of being ‘deeply offensive to Scots’ in bid to break up UK
Sturgeon slammed for independence ‘obsession’ by Alister Jack
Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland claimed Nicola Sturgeon’s comments on holding a second independence referendum were “deeply offensive” to Scots who had voted to remain in the Union in 2014. It comes as the Scottish First Minister claimed Mr Johnson was “frightened of democracy” and appealed to the EU to leave “a light on” for an independent Scotland to rejoin.
Speaking last night, Mr Jack added: “The affirmation of Nicola Sturgeon that the values of Scotland are different from the rest of the UK is not only false; it is deeply offensive to the majority of Scots who voted to remain part of UK in our referendum on Scottish independence in 2014.”
On Ms Sturgeon’s message to rejoin the EU, Mr Jack stressed her words have “little to do with Scotland’s relationship with the European Union.”
He added to Express.co.uk to mark Burns Night: “They serve a different purpose: to divide the British people as part of their campaign to break up our country.
“The referendum to leave the European Union was close, but it was a fair and democratic decision.”
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Mr Jack continued to say that Nicola Sturgeon “does not speak for Scotland” and makes only comments to “further her cause, which is to break up the United Kingdom and ignore our three hundred years of shared history.”
He stressed: “Here is my message on the occasion of Burns Night: in Scotland we are Scottish, British and European.
“We can be, and we are, all of these things. And we are proud to have you among our friends!”
At last night’s Downing Street COVID briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said the vaccination roll-out shows “we are stronger as one United Kingdom”.
Mr Hancock also said the response to the pandemic was “a real example of this country firing on all cylinders”.
In an emotional plea, he added: “For all those in Scotland who are considering this question what I’d say, as Secretary of State, is that we’re so much stronger together.
“It means an awful lot to me and my English UK colleagues in UK government that we are one Union that can pull together when things get difficult.”
Minister for Exports Graham Stuart and Scotland Office minister David Duguid also revealed there was a rise in Scottish food exports because of the country’s strong position in the Union.
Mr Stuart said that exports of Scotland’s national dish Haggis had increased by 135 percent for one company with the Scottish delicacy being exported as far as Singapore, a nation Boris Johnson wishes to forge close trade links with.
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Mr Duguid added: “It’s fitting that on the day Scots around the globe celebrate the work of one of our greatest cultural icons, Robert Burns, we can announce an export boom in Scottish food and drink.”
The Prime Minister is set to visit Scotland later this week where he will highlight the Army and UK funding on vaccines to counter the SNP’s rising case for independence.
However, the trip is likely to spark controversy after the SNP launched their roadmap to independence with 20 opinion polls showing support for the concept.
The 11 point plan says a “legal referendum” will be held after the pandemic if there is a pro-independence majority following May’s election.
The roadmap states any attempt by the UK Government to challenge the legality of the referendum in the courts will be “vigorously opposed”.
Party chiefs say the UK Government could either agree that Holyrood already has the power to hold a second referendum or agree to a Section 30 order – something he said would put the question of legality “beyond any doubt”.
A Downing Street source confirmed to Express.co.uk a trip was happening and added: “Future visits by UK ministers to Scotland will be announced in due course.”
Asked about the prospect of a second referendum, the Prime Minister said today: “The whole UK is going through a pandemic, I think what the people of the UK want to see is everybody focusing on beating that pandemic, which we are, rolling out the vaccine, and getting ready to bounce back from that pandemic and have the strongest possible economic recovery.”
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman later stressed: “Scotland had a referendum on this issue and the people of Scotland voted to stay a part of the United Kingdom and the prime minister’s focus is on defeating coronavirus as the government’s top priority, supporting jobs and levelling up across the country.”
An SNP spokesperson said the Tories were “deeply rattled by the opinion polls” and added: “Independence is clearly becoming the settled will of the people of Scotland.”
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