MacAskill: SNP victory will not persuade PM to grant indyref2

The former SNP MP said there is ‘no fact’ in Nicola Sturgeon’s claims about a Section 30 order.

MacAskill: SNP victory will not persuade PM to grant indyref2 PA Ready
MacAskill: The former SNP MP said there is ‘no fact’ in Nicola Sturgeon’s claims about a Section 30 order.

An SNP victory in the Scottish Parliament election will not persuade Boris Johnson to allow a second referendum on independence, according to Alba Party MP Kenny MacAskill.

The East Lothian MP, who left the SNP to join Alex Salmond’s new party, said there is “no fact” in Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that an SNP win would lead to the Prime Minister granting a Section 30 order – the transfer of power allowing a referendum.

It comes after the First Minister said she does not think Johnson will prevent a second referendum if the SNP wins a majority in May.

At the weekend, she said she believes discussions within the UK Government have “moved away from ‘we can stop a referendum’ to ‘when would it happen, and on what basis would it happen?’”.

Writing in the Scotsman, MacAskill said: “For sure, the Alba Party’s entrance into the fray has made independence the topic of the campaign.

“But it’s galvanised Nicola Sturgeon more than changing the Prime Minister’s mind on a Section 30 order, which he refuses, yet she still insists a prerequisite.

“Her comments have no basis in fact or even in the most minor of hints from the Prime Minister.”

The Alba Party MP said a pro-independence “supermajority” at Holyrood would amount to “the Scottish people saying they’re sick and tired of Westminster rule”.

MacAskill also hit out at his former colleagues in the SNP group at Westminster, saying leader Ian Blackford had failed to prepare for another referendum.

The East Lothian MP continued: “Previous promises of a referendum in autumn 2020 were never on the cards, given a woeful lack of preparation, but, perhaps luckily for Mr Blackford, coronavirus intervened.

“Yet still the rhetoric and fantasy continued, with suggestions that it could be this autumn – 2021. Again, despite no groundwork being laid although opportunities were offered by lockdown.

“More importantly, the United Nation COP26 climate summit remains a political and practical impediment, which is no doubt why the SNP group in Westminster have made more preparations for that than the mythical referendum.”

MacAskill is also standing as a list candidate for the Lothian region in the Holyrood election.