By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Northern Ireland, Alistair Carmichael has today said that Nicola Sturgeon is singing from the Brexiteer songbook after the First Minister told the Irish Times; “I think that [the Northern Ireland protocol] does offer some template… for businesses trading across the England-Scotland border.”
Ms Sturgeon did not appear to know that Northern Ireland’s First Minister had resigned at that point after extensive criticism from members of her DUP party who accused her of “selling out” over her role in the UK leaving Europe.
Mr Carmichael said: “The polite term for this would be delusional. The Northern Ireland protocol was hastily cobbled together and badly thought out. Already we are seeing the devastating consequences of that decision.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s border plan would separate families and devastate trade. She is singing from the Brexiteer songbook.
“The SNP’s civic nationalism is fraying at the edges and their true colours are coming through. Scotland needs a government focused on helping the economy recover from the pandemic, not one whose idea of boosting employment is more border guards.”
Responding to a new poll for The Scotsman showing support for Scottish independence has slid to just 42%, the lowest level since the last general election, campaign chair Alistair Carmichael said: “The public can clearly see that putting an independence referendum before the recovery is a fool’s errand.
“If you’ve voted nationalist in the past but want to see the next government focused on education and mental health you should back the Liberal Democrats.
“If you are a green voter who wants the focus to be on the climate emergency, not independence, you should back the Liberal Democrats.
“If you’re voting Alba, you’re probably a lost cause.”
With just one week until Scotland goes to the polls, party leader Willie Rennie has said he will use a larger group of Liberal Democrat MSPs to block any attempt by any new government to bring forward the Independence Referendum Bill.
The Bill was published by the last government just before the election and the nationalists are expected to try to introduce the Bill within days of the election.
It is Liberal Democrat gains in this election that will be essential to block the Bill.
Speaking as he visited a distillery in Perthshire, Willie Rennie said: “To recover from the worst health and economic crisis of the last 100 years, we cannot have the next Scottish Parliament distracted by independence.
“No matter what your view on independence, most people would say that now is not the time. Sadly, Nicola Sturgeon, pictured right, has played every trick in the book to avoid accepting that.
“I will therefore use a larger group of Liberal Democrat MSPs to block the referendum Bill in parliament as it risks jeopardising Scotland’s recovery.
“With our positive message of put recovery first, and with our campaign reaching out to disenchanted SNP supporters, Liberal Democrats are well placed to make gains and make the parliament focus on recovery, not independence.
“So, with just a week until poll, I urge voters across Scotland to give my party both their votes so Liberal Democrat MSPs can put the recovery first.”