SNP divided: Sturgeon urged to make U-turn and support Alba Party’s independence plot

Nicola Sturgeon: Jackson Carlaw forecasts 'beginning of the end'

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Retiring SNP MSP, Gil Paterson, has encouraged the First Minister to give “serious consideration” to working with other pro-independence parties after the Holyrood elections on May 6. The SNP has vowed to hold a second independence referendum if the party wins a majority in the Scottish Parliament. The Alba Party has been formed to help boost the number of pro-independence MSP’s in Holyrood but Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly refused to work with the movement.

Mr Salmond is fielding candidates in the regional lists and has outlined plans for a so-called “supermajority” in favour of independence.

The former First Minister has said negotiations with Boris Johnson should begin straight away if a pro-independence parliament is elected.

Mr Paterson said: “We are not asking Nicola to endorse a motion she hasn’t yet seen.

“But simply agree to consider supporting the principle that the new parliament should give serious consideration to Alba’s proposal to demand an immediate opening of negotiations on independence with the UK Government.”

Mr Johnson has constantly said there should not be another vote on independence and insists the 2014 vote was a “once in a generation” event.

SNP’s Alex Neil, who is stepping down as an MSP, served in government under Ms Sturgeon and her predecessor Mr Salmond.

The former Health Secretary has insisted the coronavirus pandemic should not stand in the way of constitutional matters and claimed an independent Scotland would be better equipped to deal with the challenges.

Mr Neil said: “Whilst we must continue to deal with the immediate issues regarding the coronavirus pandemic, there is no reason why we should not also be pursuing our constitutional demands at the same time.

“To fully recover economically from the pandemic we will need the tools that only independence can give us to do that successfully.”

The latest poll for The Herald by BMG Research suggests the SNP is set to win a majority and 68 seats in Holyrood.

While other projections show the Alba Party will take two seats.

Robert Struthers, head of polling at BMG, told the newspaper: “There is no question that the SNP will be returned as the largest party in Holyrood next week, but their prospect of a majority remains on a knife-edge.”

Ms Sturgeon has said ending the coronavirus lockdown in Scotland is her number one priority if she is re-elected, rather than pushing for independence.

She told the Sunday Post: “The first thing I will do is get back to working on the next stages of getting us out of lockdown.


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“We have another milestone coming on May 17, and for whoever is First Minister that will be the first decision – are we on track to meet that and do the next round of easing?

“I have believed in independence all of my adult life but the most important responsibility for a First Minister amidst a global crisis is to lead the country through it.”

BMG polled 1,023 Scots aged 16 and over between April 27-30.
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