Liberal Democrat candidate for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that she would seek a second independence referendum even if Brexit is stopped. The First Minister had previously stated that the referendum was justified on the basis of a "material change" following the 2016 EU referendum result, but has now said that a second vote on independence is needed whether or not the UK leaves the EU.
Commenting, Mr. Carmichael said:
"In 2014 the SNP said that the independence referendum was a once-in-a-lifetime event. In 2016 the SNP's own manifesto said that a second referendum could only be justified by a material change in circumstances, like Brexit. Now Nicola Sturgeon says she will demand a referendum even if we stop Brexit. The story keeps changing."
"It's clear - if there were ever any doubt - that Brexit has never been anything other than an excuse for the SNP to push independence and carve up the United Kingdom. They are cynically abusing the support of pro-EU voters by claiming to be a pro-European party. The reality is that they put independence above all other issues facing Scotland, to the detriment of our people.
"Labour and the Conservatives offer muddled messaging on independence, with Jeremy Corbyn open to the idea and the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack yesterday suggesting a referendum would be possible after 2021. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will allow us to reject the politics of nationalist division."