Veteran Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael urged the Scottish First Minister not to put “her party’s” interests first as he claimed Scottish independence would be like “Brexit on steroids”. Ms Sturgeon has insisted she has an “unarguable mandate” to hold a second vote on Scottish independence.
She sought to use her speech at the SNP national conference to restate her intention to hold another independence referendum when the coronavirus crisis is past.
The SNP won its fourth consecutive term in power at Holyrood in May’s Scottish elections, and Ms Sturgeon insisted that that victory “represents an unarguable mandate to implement the manifesto we put before the country”.
Party chiefs wish to hold a second referendum before the end of 2023.
But the Orkney and Shetland MP during the Lib Dem Conference compared the SNP’s push for a second independence vote to be “pretty much the same” as the Conservatives pursuit of Brexit in Westminster.
Mr Carmichael added: “They are both good examples of political parties with a nationalist, populist bent determined to pursue the party interest rather than the national interest.”
Speaking to journalists during the event which takes place this weekend, Mr Carmichael continued: “It doesn’t matter what the question is, they always manage to bring it back to independence.
“I think it is quite remarkable – and I think Nicola Sturgeon knows this herself – to think that we are going to be past the challenges of Covid in the next few months or even the next couple of years.
“We are going to be facing the long tail of Covid for possibly up to a decade and, really, that should be the priority of governments in Holyrood, in Westminster, in Belfast and in Cardiff.
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Calling for the “arbitrary salary threshold” of £25,000 for unskilled workers to be scrapped, Mr Carmichael also slated Ms Patel’s “foolishness of introducing a new immigration system in the middle of a global pandemic”.
In response, an SNP spokesperson said: “Alistair Carmichael belongs to a party which now accepts the Tory Brexit being imposed on Scotland and which fell into even greater irrelevance in May’s election.”
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