Mhairi Black Calls For IndyRef2

10 October 2017, 15:07

Mhairi Black

SNP MP Mhari Black has hit out at those who want nationalists to put independence "on the back burner" in the wake of June's general election.

Nicola Sturgeon's party lost 21 seats at Westminster, and saw its share of the vote fall from 50% of the vote in 2015 to 37% - forcing the First Minister to put plans for a second referendum on hold.

But Ms Black insisted that with an "economically selfish, increasingly xenophobic, cruel and reckless Britain" the SNP should keep campaigning for a second vote on Scotland's place in the UK.

She branded the UK a "sinking ship" and she said: "Some people are saying we should put independence on the back burner - why would we ever?

"We should never be scared to talk about anything in society. The idea that because we had one vote on the matter we can never exercise our democratic rights on the matter ever again is utterly ridiculous."

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP spoke out as she addressed the SNP conference in Glasgow, telling the audience there the pro-UK parties should not be afraid of the issue.

"If you believe in a United Kingdom so much, why be afraid to ask the people of Scotland the same question again?", she said.

"Yes there are people who will always vote No regardless, there are people who are loyal and sentimental to the United Kingdom no matter what.

"So let me say to those people you will still be able to vote No as freely as you did last time, but why should we ever fear debate and democracy in action in our country?"

She continued: "Independence has never been about flags or nationalists thinking we're better than anyone else. That narrative has been deliberately created.

"Independence is about vision and hope, it's about free to run the kind of society we want without hindrance."

She also used her conference address to mount a savage attack on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Black said she "did not actually mind" losing votes to Labour in June, when her majority was reduced, saying that people had voted for a "Labour manifesto which nicked half our current policies and previous manifesto pledges".

She said she was "so disappointed in Jeremy Corbyn", saying that while she had been "heartened" to see the veteran left-winger elected to lead Labour, the end result had been "more of the same London spin and nothing more than talking a good game".

She said: "If you're going to call for an end to austerity don't release a manifesto scrapping £2 billion out of a total £9 billion of planned Tory cuts. Don't tell the vulnerable that you're fighting for them when you choose to keep 78% of Tory cuts.

"Don't tell young people that you would scrap tuition fees and then turn a blind eye to Labour putting them up in Wales. Don't tell us you're different and then still sign up to spend billions of pounds on nuclear weapons.

"Don't come to Scotland and condescend us, claiming that the Scottish Government with 15% of welfare powers can somehow undo Tory austerity when your party voted against devolving the real powers that matter.

"But most of all don't dare spread fear and utter drivel about an independent Scotland meaning we would suffer turbo austerity.

"While you are doing that our Scottish Government is saddled with paying £453.8 million mitigating and protecting people from the very worst of the Tory policies we never voted for in the first place."

Ms Black added: "I am sick to the back teeth of British nationalists perpetuating the myth that Scotland could not afford to thrive in the world as an independent nation."