SNP rejects PM's rejection: Tories wouldn't "dare" stand in the way of vote

 
Oliver Gill
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The Scottish National Party Conference 2016 - Day Two
SNP Deputy Leader Angus Robertson was speaking at the opening of the party's conference in Aberdeen today (Source: Getty)

The SNP said today there will be a second Scottish referendum and accused the Conservative party of being scared to give the Scottish people the chance to vote on the future of the union.

After earlier this week calling for Scotland to be given another chance to vote on its future in the UK, the SNP kicks off its spring conference in Aberdeen today.

Deputy leader Angus Robertson, who also leads the party in Westminster, said that despite being rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May, a second vote will happen.

He said: "Scotland’s referendum is going to happen and no UK prime minister should dare to stand in the way of Scotland’s democracy.

“The Tories are simply scared of the people’s choice."

He also accused the government of a "panicked response" in response to calls from leader Nicola Sturgeon to put Scotland's future to the vote again – less than three years after former chief Alex Salmond called the September 2014 referendum a "once in a generation opportunity for Scotland". He added:

Read more: Forget independence: The SNP should fix Scotland's failing public services

The Tories argument is not about process, it is about their desperate desire to prevent anyone having the chance to reject the hard right Brexit that they are so wedded to.

“The truth is it should not be for either Theresa May or the Scottish Government to decide Scotland’s future, that choice belongs to the parliament and the people of Scotland and it is one this party will never shy away from.”

On Monday Sturgeon said she will go to MSPs next week to seek approval for a referendum between the autumn of 2018 and spring of 2019.

Now is not the time

The Scottish National Party leader said the "material change of circumstances" brought about by the Brexit vote justified repeating the 2014 referendum.

The Prime Minister responded yesterday in an interview with ITV by saying "now is not the time" for a second Scottish referendum.

Read more: May 2, Sturgeon nil: The SNP has no case for a second referendum

May's comments drew an angry response from SNP MPs in Westminster, who called for the PM to address the Commons to explain her decision to effectively slap down the SNP's plans.

Today's speech comes as the Prime Minister launches a "Plan for Britain" in Cardiff, with May expected to describe it as "a plan for a brighter future", according to reports by the BBC.

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