Case for Scottish independence ‘increasingly feeble’, says Carmichael
Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael gave a less than enthusiastic response to the Holyrood vote that backs calls for a second independence vote.
Mr Carmichael, who played a prominent and controversial role in the last independence referendum campaign, said the case for independence was “increasingly feeble”.
The former Scottish secretary poured scorn on the SNP and Scottish Greens, who combined to see Tuesday’s vote passed by the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Carmichael said: “If this debate has shown us anything it’s that The SNP and Greens case for yet another independence referendum is increasingly feeble. The SNP refuse to guarantee EU membership while the Greens are now checking the back of the sofa to find that petition with one million names on it.
“Nicola Sturgeon is in an absurd position as she is using the EU to get her referendum but the referendum won’t get the EU. The First Minister can’t use the EU to claim a mandate when her referendum won’t take us back in. It shows that the EU was just an excuse and that it has only ever been about independence.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats stood on a manifesto to oppose a divisive referendum and we will continue to do that. The SNP say they speak for Scotland, well they spoke three years ago and told them no.
Instead of hunting for division we need to sort out the problems on our doorstep.”
The two-day Holyrood debate was delayed in the aftermath of the Westminster terror attacks last week. When it resumed on Tuesday MSPs voted 69 to 59 in favour of requesting a second referendum.
After the vote First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “My argument is simply this: when the nature of the change that is made inevitable by Brexit becomes clear, that change should not be imposed upon us, we should have the right to decide the nature of that change.
“The people of Scotland should have the right to choose between Brexit – possibly a very hard Brexit – or becoming an independent country, able to chart our own course and create a true partnership of equals across these islands.”
Prime Minister Theresa May, who on Wednesday triggered Article 50 to start the negotiation process ahead of leaving the EU, has repeatedly said “now is not the time” for another independence referendum.