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Issue #1747      September 7, 2016

“No” to second referendum

Scottish Labour and Liberal Democrats confirmed last week that they will not support the government’s proposal for a second independence referendum following the vote to leave the EU.

Earlier this summer, both parties backed a motion giving the Scottish government a mandate to discuss all options to keep Scotland in the EU.

However, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie accused Sturgeon of consigning the cross-party consensus “to the dustbin.”

In June, Sturgeon told opposition MPs that their support for the motion giving her a mandate for talks was “not a vote for a referendum on independence.”

But Rennie said Sturgeon had “betrayed those words she uttered in parliament” by failing to explore all options to keep Scotland’s EU status and instead had opted for independence.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the results of the independence referendum and the EU referendum had both been “definitive” and called on Sturgeon to focus on investing in public services rather than independence.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s “alternative program for government,” Dugdale said: “After years of constitutional debate, it is time for the First Minister and all Scottish government ministers to focus on the job of reforming and investing in our public services and getting people back to work.”

The program includes an education Bill aimed at closing the attainment gap between Scotland’s wealthiest and most deprived pupils by establishing a fund to help youngsters in deprived areas, paid for by increasing income tax on the highest earners.

Other proposals include a complete ban on fracking, a work and trade unions Bill, and a health and social care bill to ensure that care workers are paid the legal minimum rate and that zero-hours contracts in the sector are abolished.

A Scottish National Party spokesman said Labour’s alternative program had already been “roundly rejected” by voters during last May’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Morning Star

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