Sturgeon’s independence own goal – split risks driving the ‘wealth creators’ from Scotland

Indyref2: Ballantyne says there’s ‘huge gap’ in arguments

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Parliament would inevitably be distracted by discussions on precisely that subject. The election saw the SNP win 64 seats – one below the number which would have given the party an overall majority. Nevertheless, with the Greens, who also back independence, picking up eight seats, Ms Sturgeon is continuing to push for a second independence referendum in seven years, forcefully making her case during a phone call to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday.

Mrs Ballantyne, who quit the Tories for Reform UK earlier this year, lost her seat in Thursday’s Holyrood elections, picking up 779 votes on the regional list.

A fierce critic of the First Minister, Mrs Ballantyne told Express.co.uk she was deeply concerned at what would happen now.

She explained: “Ms Sturgeon’s belief and rhetoric that the election result is first and foremost a mandate for a referendum supported sadly by the main opposition who stood on a platform of stopping a referendum doesn’t bode well for the next few years.

“It completely misses the 50/50 split in the voters support (nowhere near the settled will of the Scottish people Ms Sturgeon has said is needed).

“But far more worryingly, it suggests that this parliamentary session is going to focus on a mandate that they have no power to enact.

She added: “The SNP wrote to their supporters in the run up to the election telling them they had to vote SNP 1&2 to protect the NHS from Boris Johnson, a message that was so disingenuous it clearly highlights the desperate tactics that are used.

“Whilst education comes apart at the seams and our NHS quietly disintegrates our Parliamentarians will trade insults and bitter division on the constitutional question over which they have no power.”

Mrs Ballantyne urged the UK Government to deliver the support necessary to rebuild Scotland’s economy “after the damage that has been wrought by over zealous politicians”.

As for the possibility of so-called IndyRef2, she said: “If a referendum is ever run again Scotland needs to be told the truth about the currency, our pensions, the debt and the post Independence arrangements.

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“The question must not be Yes or No and it must not be a guessing game for the people as to what it will mean for jobs and the future.

“Ms Sturgeon is feeding her supporters red meat with her rallying cries but in doing so she is stoking the division and hatred that she will find difficult to put back in the bottle.”

Specifically, Mrs Ballantyne was concerned about a possible money drain if independence started to look like a realistic prospect.

She explained: “Already I hear the noises of concern as the wealth creators consider the possibility of the risks of being in Scotland.

The democratic right that was won last week was to lead our devolved Parliament and use those powers to the benefit of the people.”

Furthermore, she urged Mrs Sturgeon to concentrate on the job at hand – namely, ensuring Scotland’s pandemic recovery – rather than plotting to break away from the UK.

She said: “As referendums on separation are not a devolved power logically the only mandate that’s been won by the SNP is to ask for one, and the British Government have said not now.

“So the SNP faces a choice, divide the country in a bitter and senseless battle which will punish the people or focus on the job of actually running Scotland to the best of their ability so that one day they might have the support of more than just 50 percent of the people.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the SNP to offer the party a chance to respond to Mrs Ballantyne’s remarks.

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