MP Jack shoots down talk of Indyref2

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has shot down talk of a second independence referendum next year – and insisted that the public aren’t interested in Indyref2 either.

By Marc McLean - Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 2:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 5:38 pm
Alister Jack is adamant there will not be a referendum on Scottish independence next year
Alister Jack is adamant there will not be a referendum on Scottish independence next year

The Dumfries and Galloway MP is convinced that people are more concerned with jobs, their health, and paying their bills through the cost-of-living crisis.

The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon recently confirmed they will push for another vote for Scottish independence in 2023, with the First Minister revealing she’ll likely step down if it fails again.

Meanwhile, Mr Jack has dismissed the referendum idea and says that the UK Government has more important priorities.

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He said: “Our priority is 100 percent the Covid recovery, saving lives, and enhancing livelihoods.

“It’s all about economic regeneration, growth, and the levelling-up agenda. The constitutional upheaval is so far off the United Kingdom’s agenda, and I don’t believe it’s very high on the agenda of most people in Scotland.

“In opinion polls we are seeing less and less desire for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom, those numbers are coming down all the time.

“We are also seeing that it’s ranked eight or nine in what people consider important. Understandably, they’re concerned about jobs, the economy, and people go to sleep at night worrying about the health service, or their children’s education.

“We’re seeing very low on the list of people’s concerns, on average, breaking up the United Kingdom.”

Asked his prediction on the outcome if a second referendum did go ahead next year, Mr Jack replied: “My prediction is that it’s not happening.

“My prediction is that the UK Government will be focusing on economic growth, the cost of living challenge, and what is a global challenge now. Not just Ukraine, but also the hangover if you like from the pandemic.

“It is dealing with those issues that are our priority. A referendum that was once-in-a-generation is simply not on our agenda. We had one in 2014, and that is not a generation ago.“Our agenda is about economic growth and helping people with the cost of living.”

Mhairi Black MP, the SNP’s Shadow Scotland spokesperson, said: “The reality is that Alister Jack and his Tory government colleagues are more focused on defending the law-breaking Prime Minister than getting on with the day job of tackling the Tory cost-of-living crisis.

“People in Scotland have already decided there should be an independence referendum, when the SNP was re-elected last May with the highest share of the vote of any party in the history of devolution.

"That election saw a record majority of pro-independence MSPs elected — a greater majority than the 2011 result which was the agreed mandate for the 2014 referendum.

“For any UK government to try and block the will of the people by standing in the way of that cast-iron democratic mandate is simply unsustainable. The UK Government also knows this, which is why they are so busy preparing behind the scenes for a referendum they know is coming.”