Ms Dugdale accused the First Minister of retreating on Scottish independence
The First Minister’s comments over the weekend that she would be happy with “around spring 2019” for a referendum were seized on by Scottish Labour leader Kez Dugdale as evidence that she is “retreating”.
It came as the First Minister yesterday formally laid down a motion calling for a referendum between Autumn 2018 and spring 2019 despite polls showing that a majority of Scots neither want a poll nor support independence.
Ms Sturgeon said: “If MSPs pass this motion this week, then the Prime Minister’s position of blocking a referendum and forcing through a hard Brexit without giving the people a choice will be democratically indefensible.”
But on a visit to Westminster yesterday, Ms Dugdale mocked Ms Sturgeon’s apparent retreat from pushing for a referendum before Brexit is complete.
She said: “You couldn’t possibly have it before Brexit and you have seen a real change in Nicola Sturgeon’s language in the last 24 hours around that.
“When she first set out her timing she said between autumn 2018 and spring of 2019 before Brexit, but in the motion they have just released for the debate in parliament she said around spring of 2019.
Mrs Sturgeon wants another independence referendum to keep Scotland in the EU
“So she is no longer tied to the idea that it would happen before the UK left the EU; that’s a significant concession and points to the fact that any future referendum is now likely to happen post Brexit.”
You have seen a real change in Nicola Sturgeon’s language in the last 24 hours
Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour leader
She also pointed out that Ms Sturgeon’s claims that the “will of the Scottish Parliament” must be respected showed rank hypocrisy by the First Minister, who has ignored five Scottish Government defeats in Holyrood.
Ms Dugdale said: “You will hear a lot about the will of the Scottish Parliament after the vote on Wednesday.
“There are at least five occasions where Nicola Surgeon has ignored the will of the Scottish Parliament.
Sturgeon's top moments Fri, December 9, 2016
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in pictures.
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
“Her entire record on education was rejected by the Scottish Parliament and she ignored that; she chose not to act as a result of that. The Parliament voted to protect and save many hospitals in Scotland and she is ignoring that; she is proceeding with plans to close those.
“The Parliament voted to oppose fracking and yet she remains unclear on her position on that. And again on Islands and Highlands Enterprise and indeed the Scottish Funding Council.”
And Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont also labelled the SNP hypocrites for complaining that Theresa May had not informed Ms Sturgeon about the date of triggering Article 50 – when the Nationalists’ leader sprung her referendum plans on the country last week with no warning.
Ms Dugdale also accused Nicola Sturgeon of ignoring the will of Scottish Parliament
Mr Lamont said: “It is only a week since Nicola Sturgeon announced her plans for an unwanted divisive second referendum out of the blue with
no prior notice to anyone.
“As usual with the SNP, it is a case of double standards.”