Let me open with a quote:
“We have never hidden the fact that I see this bill being used by the Parliament and the Government to create the referendum for independence”.—
[Official Report, Finance and Constitution Committee
, 25 September 2019; c 4.]
So said Mike Russell in evidence to this Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee in September. Let there be no doubt: for the Scottish National Party, this bill is not about referendums in general—it is about indyref2. This bill was announced by the First Minister in a statement about independence, and—as we heard from the cabinet secretary earlier this afternoon—there is no issue other than independence that the SNP proposes to put to the people of Scotland in a referendum. This bill is designed with only one purpose in mind: to pave the way for an unwanted second independence referendum.
Scottish Conservative MSPs were elected to this Parliament on a manifesto commitment that was crystal clear. We will oppose the SNP’s attempts to steamroller Scotland into an unwanted second independence referendum every step of the way.