Second Referendum on Scottish Independence is Inevitable, Says Salmond

July 27, 2015

A second referendum on the issue of Scottish independence from the rest of the UK is “inevitable”, according to the former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Alex Salmond.

Salmond was leading the SNP in September 2014 when Scottish voters rejected independence by a majority of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

But the former first minister of Scotland told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday that he believes the country will return to the polls at some point in the future to revisit the question of Scottish independence.

“I think a second independence referendum is inevitable. The question of course is not the inevitability, it is the timing,” he said.

Salmond resigned his leadership of the SNP after voters rejected independence and was replaced by Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s first minister. Under her leadership, the SNP won 56 of a possible 59 seats at Westminster during May’s general election.

Sturgeon has not ruled out a return to the polls for Scots in the independence question, saying only that there is “no second Scottish independence referendum on the immediate horizon”.

Speaking to the BBC, Salmond explained that he feels there are three issues in play in British politics that are likely to return the question of Scottish independence to the national agenda and, eventually, to the point of another referendum.

“One is the refusal to deliver the ‘vow’. The ‘vow’ was about home rule, devo-to-the-max, and that has not been delivered,” he said. “The second issue is the European issue – if you had a situation where Scotland voted to stay in EU and was dragged out on the votes of the people of England.”

“The third thing emerging is from the Budget and the Welfare Bill. Instead of getting devo-to-the-max we are getting austerity-to-the-max and that divergent view of what is right in social terms between Scotland and England is another thing which is moving things to another referendum.”

The British government has been widely criticised in recent weeks for its commitment to cutting the national welfare budget by £12 billion, with millions of low-earning households expected to see their incomes diminished further in coming months as a result of cuts to a number of in-work state benefits.

 

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