Nicola Sturgeon accused of spreading fake news as SNP fuels constitutional crisis

Gordon Brown explains what ‘independence means’

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP offered serious government for serious times and pledged a second Scottish independence vote should take place “once the Covid crisis is over” by 2023. The SNP leader also stressed it has never been “more important” to give people in Scotland a choice over their future but Boris Johnson has ruled out a second referendum taking place.

Mr Brown claimed that while the SNP remained in Government in Scotland, the ties of “Britishness are weaker” and a “constitutional crisis lies ahead.”

In an op-ed, Mr Brown also stressed many Britons saw the “separation of Scotland and England as inevitable.”

But he made clear: “I remain as convinced as ever that the case for Scotland in Britain is as sound as ever not because of ceremonies or any nostalgia for war or empire or flags but on a fresh patriotic, principled and patriotic argument that I believe can keep our country united.

“Fake I know that, in many parts of England, there is scepticism about Scotland’s desire to remain in the UK.

“Given that most people in England only ever see Scotland represented by Nicola Sturgeon or SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford at Prime Minister’s Questions, it’s easy to see why.

“But the picture of Scotland which the SNP presents and would like England to see is closer to fake news than reality.”

Support for Scottish independence has dropped in recent months with the latest polling undertaken by Panelbase last week.

The findings of the Panelbase survey carried out for The Sunday Times suggests that, excluding “don’t knows”, 48 percent would now back independence – a drop of four points since April.

Support for the Union in the poll was at 52 percent, up four points, according to the poll of 1,287 adults aged 16 and over between June 16 and 24.

The former Prime Minister stressed that to ensure support for the Union remains consistent, he stressed politicians on both sides of the divide needed to show how the “UK can work better”.

If this were to happen, he stressed: “It will be easier to expose the contrast with what Scottish independence would actually mean for the pound, the border with England, tax and economic stability.”

Mr Brown concluded: “Scots want to remain Scottish and British, Scottish Nationalists have made it their mission to force Scots to choose Scotland or Britain.

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“And the story of the last decade of public life in Scotland has been a nationalist movement, in power, attempting to force people into that choice.”

Mr Brown’s latest calls come after Michael Gove has denied allegations of a misuse of public funds from a coronavirus contract used to carry out opinion polling on Scottish independence.

An unlawfully awarded £560,000 contract was given to the firm Public First to gauge people’s opinions on Brexit issues, rebuilding the economy following the pandemic and attitudes towards the union.

Last month, the High Court ruled that the use of the money was “unlawful” as it “gave rise to an apparent bias” due to its links with former colleagues of Dominic Cummings and Mr Gove.

During a visit to Aberdeen on Monday, the Cabinet Minister insisted that it had been “the right decision” to award the money for polling – but denied signing off on it.

An SNP source said: “Gordon Brown’s arguments are outdated and tired.

“Independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from repeated and unwanted Tory governments who created a damaging Brexit and unnecessary power grabs from the Scottish Parliament. “

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