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SNP trying to drive division over two questions

January 29, 2012 11:09 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

An attempt is being made by SNP strategists to create division amongst those who favour more powers for the Scottish Parliament but within the United Kingdom.

Willie Rennie MSPWillie Rennie MSPLeader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has accused the First Minister and his Party of a policy of "separation by stealth" by telling people he wants voters to have more choice but secretly attempting to undermine efforts to secure more powers.

Mr Rennie has hit out after repeated attempts by Alex Salmond to include a Devo Max option on the ballot paper despite overwhelming evidence from experts, including his own referendum advisor, that a two question referendum could lead to a quagmire of confusion.

Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

"By offering false hope to voters by proposing a two question referendum without a legitimate method of asking the questions, Alex Salmond is trying to drive a wedge between those who reject independence but want more powers for Scotland within the UK.

"Far from a high-minded offer to 'let the people decide', it is an SNP campaign tactic, the object of which is to get people arguing over process, rather than expose the SNP's policy of independence to proper, detailed and forensic scrutiny.

"The First Minister has repeatedly refused to explain how he intends to get round the pitfalls of a two question referendum and has created a democratic deficit by stating that the most popular option could lose just because it isn't independence. His shiftiness on this alone should cause people to think twice.

"Even his own expert advisor, Dr Matt Qvortrup, has criticised plans for a two question referendum but the First Minister has turned a deaf ear.

"The First Minister is pursuing a policy of separation by stealth, trying to manipulate the Scottish people out of the UK by creating confusion over process rather than clarity on the issues.

"People should be clear that there is no road through the independence referendum to strengthening Scotland's powers within the United Kingdom. The only issue is whether it is in the interests of Scotland to be pulled out of the UK or not.

"With the SNP continuing to undermine the Scotland Bill, which will deliver the biggest transfer of powers in 300 years, and the First Minister creating confusion over a vote on more powers there is a challenge that those who believe in more powers for Scotland must confront.

"We must not allow the SNP, who only believe in independence, to dictate the terms of how we secure more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

"I want Home Rule for Scotland within the United Kingdom but I won't submit our plans to a second class question in a referendum.

"It could be defeated by independence even if it wins by a landslide. This is not fair, it is not democratic and it is an insult to the majority of Scots who favour more powers.

"Our proposals for Home Rule are currently being drawn up our Home Rule commission chaired by Sir Ming Campbell.

"Scotland should determine its own destiny on domestic issues whilst sharing risks and opportunity across the UK. That risk sharing allows us to benefit when times are good and rally round in the tough times.

"We will aim to seek a mandate for our plans at the next General Election, gathering support from others inside and outside of politics along the way.

"This is the right way to go about serious and substantial reform of our relationship with the UK family and I will not allow it to be sabotaged by the SNP."