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Election / SNP defends tactic of not mentioning independence

THE SNP has been accused of running a fraudulent campaign in Shetland and across the country by making next to no mention of Scottish independence in its election pamphlets.

Restore Scotland candidate Brian Nugent.

Local candidate Brian Nugent of Restore Scotland, the party that wants an independent Scotland to stay outside the EU, also said that according to SNP policy an independent Scotland would aim to re-join the European Union without a further referendum.

Nugent said: “Having received five leaflets from the SNP, a voter should know what they are standing for, but not so.”

Thanking Nugent for studying his leaflets carefully, SNP candidate for the Shetland constituency seat Tom Wills responded by saying that there was “no trick” played here.

“Three Tom Wills leaflets and not a mention of independence or a referendum, two SNP Highlands and Islands region leaflets and if you search, very carefully, you will find the one paragraph of four lines that talks about a referendum,” Nugent said.

“And yet based on this extremely vague prospectus, it turns out that the first minister [Nicola Sturgeon] does not intend holding a referendum on EU membership if Scotland becomes independent.

“She has forgotten that in Scotland the people are sovereign. Voters are to be denied the democratic right to choose their future.

“The first minister assumes that Scots want an independent Scotland to join the EU, effectively making indyref2 a double referendum.”

SNP candidate Tom Wills

Wills said: “My leaflets set out my local policy priorities for Shetland, which would guide the work that I hope to start a week on Thursday.

“This election is about protecting our right to choose our own government, but a Holyrood election is not the same thing as an independence referendum.

“I think many potential SNP voters in Shetland will be reassured that those who would take a less careful approach to constitutional matters have felt the need to join Restore Scotland or Alba.

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“As for Europe, I think most folk in our local fishing industry want to see whether or not the promised benefits of Brexit are actually delivered before we look at that question again.”

Nugent, who is also the lead candidate on Restore Scotland’s Highlands and Islands regional list, said a third of SNP voters had voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Wills added: “I sincerely believe that if Scotland does vote for independence, that would benefit Shetland and enable us to improve local government and build a society that shares wealth more equally.

“However, I understand that others feel differently and as Shetland’s MSP, my first job would be to listen and work hard with everyone in these islands, to achieve our common goals.

The Scottish Parliament elections take place on 6 May. There are six candidates contesting the Shetland seat. They are in alphabetical order: Martin Kerr (Labour), Brian Nugent (Restore Scotland); Peter Tait (Independent), Nick Tulloch (Conservatives), Tom Wills (SNP) and Beatrice Wishart (Liberal Democrats).

To find out more about all the candidates standing in the election, including those on the regional Highlands and Islands list, visit our Scottish Parliament election 2021 page below.

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