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MSP says Scotland ‘deserves a choice’ on independence

Highlands and Islands list MSP John Finnie in Lerwick last year. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland NewsHighlands and Islands list MSP John Finnie in Lerwick. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

HIGHLANDS and Islands list MSP John Finnie says it is “simply unacceptable” for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to reject the Scottish Government’s desire to launch another independence referendum within the next two years.

The Green Party member believes that the Conservative ruling that “now is not the time” for a second referendum will only increase support north of the border for going independent.

Last week Scottish First Minster Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she would seek approval to hold another referendum at some point between late 2018 and early 2019 as she believed the UK’s decision to leave the EU was a “material change” in circumstances for Scotland.

Finnie said May, who confirmed she would reject the request to focus on Brexit negotiations, is showing “contempt” for Scottish people.

In Scotland as a whole, 62 per cent of voters said they wished to remain in the EU.

“Scotland deserves to have a choice between a damaging Tory hard Brexit, and putting our future in our own hands with independence,” Finnie said.

“The UK Tory government blocking Scotland’s right to choose will result in increasing support for Scottish independence and underlines the Prime Minister’s contemptuous attitude towards Scotland.

“We know that the shape of the Brexit deal will be known within the timescale the First Minister set out at the beginning of the week.

“It is simply unacceptable for a Tory government, with no mandate in Scotland, to suggest it will defy the wishes of the Scottish Parliament. This is a shabby attempt by the UK government to deny European citizens living in Scotland a say in a future referendum.”

The news of a possible second independence referendum was met with a mixed response locally.

Shetland voted 63.7-36.3 in favour of remaining in the union when the last referendum was held in 2014, while the isles also voted to remain in the EU last year.

Local MSP Tavish Scott said the government is in danger of forgetting about “schools, the lack of GPs and the need to lower ferry fares for islanders” as it focuses on a second referendum.

SNP list MSP Maree Todd, however, believed Sturgeon’s announcement was “great news”.