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Nicola Sturgeon makes Scottish independence call as SNP leader hails Greens deal


Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the partnership between the SNP and Greens means there is now an “undeniable” mandate for a second referendum on independence.

The First Minister today hailed the deal between the two parties as Holyrood returned from its summer recess, with MSPs being asked to approve the appointment of Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to the Scottish Government.

Sturgeon claimed the partnership stopped short of a formal coalition but offered a new way of doing politics at the Scottish Parliament.

But she once again spelled out her belief that the tie-up between the parties strengthened the case for an IndyRef2 – prompting groans from opposition MSPs.

She said: “The best way, not just of protecting this Parliament from Westminster, but also equipping it with the full powers it needs to build a fairer, more prosperous country, is to make this Parliament independent of Westminster.”

The SNP leader continued: “This agreement does confirm our intention to give people in Scotland the choice of independence.

“The mandate for that is undeniable.

“The SNP and Greens won 72 of the 129 seats in this parliament and each one of us was elected on a clear commitment to an independence referendum.

“The reason for a referendum is just as important. As we emerge from this pandemic, the kind of country and society that Scotland is now and becomes in future, and the decisions that will shape our society and our economy, must be determined democratically here in Scotland, and not imposed upon us, so often against our will, by governments at Westminster.

“The agreement we have reached offers a clear vision of the sort of country Scotland can become – a greener, fairer, and yes, independent nation.

“It also recognises and puts into practice an approach to politics that sees parties trying to work together for the common good.

“I firmly believe that is what most people in Scotland want to see.”

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, claimed the deal was about handing “greater control” to the First Minister.

“While Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP hammer our public services with cuts, and the Greens simply nod it through,” he said.

“Cut through the spin, and the now typical boasts of historic moments, this is no new government. It is not a clean start.

“This is a deal that is more about the constitution and not the climate.

“I am all for common ground being found, and cooperation on issues that parties agree on. But this deal is not about delivering greater accountability or transparency in this parliament – it’s about the opposite.

“It’s about greater control for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP and not cooperation.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accused Sturgeon of forming a “Nationalist coalition with one overriding goal”.

He said: “Trying to claim this is not a coalition is quite simply a joke even by SNP standards.

“This is a Nationalist coalition with one overriding goal – separating Scotland from the United Kingdom. Yet again, a divisive referendum has come first, as it always does with this government.

“It’s a simple fact Nicola Sturgeon made this Nationalist deal her priority over a programme for government, which should have been announced today as it normally always is at the start of the term.”

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