Ruth Davidson: SNP trying to ‘weaponise’ Brexit vote

Posted On: 
14th February 2017

The SNP are “cranking up the grievance machine” in an effort to launch a new independence vote, Ruth Davidson has said.

Ruth Davidson campaigned for Scotland to stay in the UK in 2014
PA Images

The Scottish Tory leader said there remained the “grim possibility” of a rerun of the vote held in 2014 “no matter how weak the case for independence may seem”.

Addressing an audience at the London School of Economics, she said the case for the UK union must be remade.

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“The SNP is a formidable political operation which I suspect has learned from the tactics of the Leave campaign last year and is itching to get its own campaign bus into gear as we speak,” she said.

“So my view is that the case for the union must be made afresh, and we have to persuade people once again that our own union of nations still works for us all.”

She added: “I lost the case for one union last year. I have absolutely no intention of losing another. But if we are to win the argument, we must step up and demonstrate that our own union is a living, breathing being which can change when required, which is responsive to people’s needs and which is open to the world around us.”

Senior SNP figures have argued that a fresh bid to quit the UK could follow after Britain opted to leave the EU, but Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in.

Ms Davidson, a Remain supporter prior to the Brexit vote, said leaving the UK to keep ties to the EU was “stubbing your toe to then amputate your foot”.

"If everyone in Scotland agrees that free trade with Europe is important – and we do – it is literally impossible to deny that trade with the rest of the UK matters four times as much,” she said.

“But rather than accept that logic, the same old nationalist contortions are applied. It is already cranking up the grievance machine in an attempt to push people towards the exit door.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “Ruth Davidson, the Brexiteers’ apologist in chief, has shamelessly sold out on her commitment to keeping Scotland in the single market, and a hard Brexit threatens 80,000 Scottish jobs over the next decade.

“In those circumstances it is absolutely right that independence should be on the table as an option if it becomes clear it is the best or only way of protecting our vital national interests.”