Scotland’s Deputy First Minister has said Theresa May’s refusal to grant Holyrood the legislative power to hold a further independence referendum should not be seen as “the last word on the subject”.
John Swinney said the UK Government does not look “particularly stable” and he believes the position on declining to grant a request for a section 30 order needed to hold further ballot on Scottish independence could change.
He said Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement on Wednesday of plans to hold an independence vote before May 2021 if the UK leaves the EU was the Scottish Government facing up to the question of what to do about the damage Brexit poses to Scotland.
Speaking at the Scottish Council of Development and Industry (SCDI) annual forum in Edinburgh on Thursday, Mr Swinney said: “We face an inescapable set of circumstances.
“However much we want to wish away the whole Brexit trauma it is with us and it has implications for us.
“There are a number of critical issues that will affect our economic performance that, if handled in the fashion that we fear they will be handled, will be very economically damaging to the country.
“The question that we then face is do we do anything about that or do we just accept that?
“And what the First Minister was doing yesterday was essentially encouraging people to think about, well do we do something about it or do we not?”
Questioned on the UK Government’s refusal to grant a section 30 order to enable a further Scottish independence referendum to be held, Mr Swinney said: “I don’t currently think the UK Government looks particularly stable, if I may put it as delicately as that.
“I think there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge about these questions, we’ve a lot of discussions to undertake with the UK Government and others on these questions but I don’t think that should be viewed as the last word on the subject.”