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Labour’s 10 unanswered questions on independence


Scottish Labour has called on Nicola Sturgeon to answer ten questions on separation as the party comes in for criticism from one of its own former minister for showing “no sign” of any original thinking or hard work on the case for independence.

Ian Murray MP, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary published questions ranging from currency to pensions and border arrangements for an independent Scotland which, he said, the SNP has not answered in decades.

With the SNP’s online national conference underway this weekend Murray said the nationalists could not be trusted with “it will be all right on the night” answers to basic questions about breaking up the UK.

Ian Murray said: “The SNP has held no less than three conferences this year, and have been campaigning for independence for a lifetime, yet they still don’t have the answers to basic questions about what independence would mean for ordinary Scots.”

He added: “We have seen from Brexit the dangers of trusting politicians who say it will be ‘alright on the night’ and don’t offer a concrete plan for the future.

“We cannot allow a repeat of the past, where the nationalists failed to provide clear answers on issues such as currency, pensions and the reality of setting up an independent state.

“It should not be too much to ask for Nicola Sturgeon to be straight with people about her plans to break up the United Kingdom.”

The sally from Labour came as Alex Neil, a former SNP Minister and veteran nationalist, said the party had to “put flesh on the bones” of its plans for Scotland to become independent.

Neil warned: “It’s not enough just to shout, ‘independence, independence, independence’, we’ve got to put flesh on the bones of the argument.

“That means spelling out in detail the answers to questions on currency, economic policy, the oil and gas industry, and our trading relationships.

“It’s not just a case of updating the White Paper from the 2014 referendum). It needs to be completely rewritten.

“My concern at the moment is that there is no sign of that hard work and original thinking being done, despite the fact we need to do that to have any chance of success next time round.”

Ian Murray’s top ten:

1. What would the currency of an independent Scotland be?

2. Would the Scottish Government raise taxes or make public service cuts to make up the current fiscal deficit of 22.4% of GDP?

3. What measures would you take to ensure Scotland remains in the UK single market, and how would this be compatible with joining the European Union?

4. Would an independent Scotland accept the Euro in order to join the European Union?

5. Would there be freedom of movement between Scotland and England? How would work if Scotland is part of the European single market?

6. Will oil form the basis of the economic plan for an independent Scotland as it did in 2014?

7. How would you protect the pensions of people who have paid into the UK wide state pension scheme?

8. Would Scots not living Scotland be able to vote? Would the captain of the Scottish football team get a vote in an independence referendum?

9. Given its taken years to start using devolved welfare powers, how long does the SNP estimate it will take to setup an independent state?

10. What would the eligibility criteria be for citizenship of an independent Scotland?

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