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LBC: Scottish caller rages at independence referendum calls

The Scottish National Party (SNP) MP accused the Conservatives of fearing democracy during Prime Minister’s Questions at the House of Commons on Wednesday (June 29). It came after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to hold a second vote on Scottish independence on October 19, 2023.

Mr Blackford told the Commons: “The harsh reality is that the Tories might fear democratic debate, but they don’t have the right to block Scottish democracy.”

He added: “Scottish democracy will not be prisoner of any prime minister in this place. So why is the UK Government scared of democracy?

“Or is it simply that they have run out of ideas to defend the failing Westminster system?”

Former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney slammed Mr Blackford’s remarks on Twitter.


Brexiteer Martin Daubney has criticised Ian Blackford’s democracy comment at PMQs (Image: Getty/Twitter)

Nicola Sturgeon and Westminster leader Ian Blackford peer through a giant

Nicola Sturgeon and Westminster leader Ian Blackford peer through a giant Stop Brexit sign (Image: Getty)

He wrote: “‘Why is the UK Government scared of democracy?’ says [Ian Blackford MP] who tried – and failed, for four years – to cancel Brexit, the biggest democratic vote in British Parliamentary history.”

Mr Blackford has been a vocal opponent of Britons’ decision to leave the European Union, telling the Commons in October 2019 Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “extreme Brexit” would take a wrecking ball to the economy.

Earlier this month, the SNP’s Westminster leader clashed with Mr Johnson in the Commons, claiming the Government’s “disastrous” Brexit was driving down wages and pushing up inflation.

The Prime Minister shot back, accusing Mr Blackford of underestimating Brexit Britain’s achievements.



Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: Getty)

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (Image: Getty)

Mr Johnson said: “I’m afraid he is underestimating what this country is currently achieving, not just the Moderna investment, but a record venture capital investment in this country which has now overtaken China as a venue for venture capital investment.

“The benefits of that are being felt throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Mr Blackford has consistently opposed Brexit in parliament, including by voting against approval of the Government’s negotiated withdrawal agreement.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, standing in for Mr Johnson at today’s PMQs, told Mr Blackford Scottish voters wanted their elected representatives to focus on the issues they face in their day to day lives.

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How Scots voted in 2021 (Image: Express)

Mr Raab said: “Look, he mentioned the problems Scotland faces: a huge tax burden imposed by the SNP; Scotland’s record on science and maths under the international PISA rankings have dropped below England and Wales, and the SNP have presided over the worst drug death rate in Europe – the highest since records began.

“I think the people of Scotland expect their government in Holyrood and in Westminster to work together to tackle the issues facing them in their day to day lives.”

His comments were echoed by Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart, who said on Wednesday that constitutional issues were so far down the list of people’s priorities when the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections took place.

Mr Stewart said: “What the people of Scotland want are their Governments – whether that’s local, Scottish or United Kingdom Government – to be working together on addressing the issues that matter to them and responding to the big challenges we face as a country and world.”

Dominic Raab leaves Number 10 Downing Street

Dominic Raab leaves Number 10 Downing Street (Image: Getty)

The clash between Mr Raab and Mr Blackford comes as economic experts warn Scottish businesses’ recovery from the pandemic is starting to falter.

Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute has scaled down its forecast for economic growth in 2023, with the cost-of-living crisis taking a toll on companies and consumers.

The think tank said it now expects growth of 0.5 percent next year, instead of the 1.5 percent it previously forecast, due to the impact of rising costs and the likelihood they will persist for longer than first predicted.

In its latest quarterly economic commentary report, the institute said shoppers are starting to modify their spending behaviour in response to the ongoing crisis, with more than half reporting they are spending less on non-essential items.

Angela Mitchell, senior partner at Deloitte, which sponsors the institute’s economic commentary, said: “While Scotland’s economic recovery was well under way in the first quarter of 2022, challenges for businesses are likely to remain throughout this year as a result of the cost-of-living pressures driven by both rising inflation and interest rates.

“In this context, the risks posed to future economic growth are in plain sight. Weaker demand, higher costs and, in particular, uncertainty inhibit the likelihood of investment and growth.”