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United Kingdom

03 Mar 2017

May accuses Sturgeon of playing politics

Theresa May accused Nicola Sturgeon of having “tunnel vision” concerning the call for a second Scottish independence referendum. May talked in a harsh unusual way against Scotland’s First Minister saying that any talk for the independence of Scotland is meant to cover the real problems like the condition of NHS and of the education system in that part of Great Britain.

Speaking at the annual Scottish Conservative conference in Glasgow, Theresa May had the opportunity to disparage Sturgeon who is one of the main critics of the Brexit. In her speech she said that Sturgeon has dedicated all her forces to achieve independence for Scotland but she has neglected to deal with the real daily problems of Scottish citizens like the state of the economy and the school reforms. “The Scottish National Party (SNP) government is only interested only in stoking up endless constitutional grievance and furthering their obsession with independence” said May and accused Sturgeon of twisting the truth and playing politics at the expense of Great Britain.

Theresa May warned, that the independence of Scotland would wrench it out of its big market. The SNP counter attacked, by describing May’s words as hypocrisies because she is criticising Scotland for wanting its independence while at the same time she is seeking a “hard” Brexit. Angus Roberson, a lead MP of the SNP, stated that “it’s ironic that May accuses others for political games when she is the one that treats EU citizens like bargaining chips and gambles the future of UK industry”.

Nicola Sturgeon, who is the first woman to hold the position of Scottish First Minister, has pressed May for concessions in matters of accessing the single market and for substantial new powers been given to Scotland after the Brexit. Sturgeon has threatened that if Scotland is not satisfied, there will be a second referendum for independence. The SNP officials have stated, that when Article 50 is triggered a referendum will be “legitimate and almost necessary”.

May responded, and said that “it’s not a matter whether there could be a referendum but a matter of should there be at all such a referendum”. The British Prime Minister rhetorically asked if Scotland would benefit from Brexit when the UK will take over significant policy and spending powers which are now controlled by the European Union.

May is bound to hold on to the UK’s government promise that no powers will be taken away from Scotland and added that “it could gain more powers in the future”. The term “could” was judged as unsatisfactory by the SNP officials. Sturgeon accused May’s government that her demands are being ignored and that there is a plan to reduce Scotland’s control over fisheries and farming.

In September 2014, Scotland held its first referendum for independence. 55.3% voted against the independence in the highest recorded turnout (84.6%) for an election or a referendum in the history of the UK.