Blackford throws gauntlet down with Scottish independence debate return ‘in coming weeks’

Ian Blackford throws gauntlet down with Scottish independence debate

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The SNP’s Ian Blackford has promised the debate on Scottish independence will begin in earnest “in the coming weeks.” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to hold a second independence referendum though faces staunch opposition for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. LBC host Iain Dale pressed Mr Blackford: “Scottish independence seems to have disappeared since the May elections?”

Mr Blackford replied: “I don’t think so.

“What we’ve got is a Government that’s getting on with the job. We’ve got a 100-day plan.

“What you’ll see is the party nationally and indeed the Westminster group will be very much laying out the vision as to how they see an independent Scotland.

“I want us to be able to get on from process and have that debate about Scotland’s future.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to having that debate, and that debate will be kicking off in the course of the coming weeks.”

The exchange came a day after Health Secretary Matt Hancock shamed the SNP over the party’s “deeply regrettable” bid to divide the NHS during a clash in Parliament.

Mr Hancock said the SNP’s “attempt at division within the NHS” is “deeply regrettable.”

“This attempt at division within the NHS is deeply regrettable,” he told MPs.

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“It is not what people want, it is not what people want in Scotland, it is not what people want anywhere across this country.”

“NHS should be an institute we are all very proud of.

“Of course it is managed locally, it is managed locally across parts of England, it is managed locally under the devolution settlement in Wales and Scotland, and in health service in Northern Ireland. Rightly so.”

“But it ill behooves politicians to try and divide the NHS.

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“It is a wonderful institution that should make us all proud to be British.”

It comes after SNP Health spokeswoman Ms Phillipa Whitford made a point in her question to the Secretary of pointing out there are “four NHSs.”

She said: “I am sure the Secretary of State is well aware that the Scottish NHS has been separate since 1948.”

“And has been under direct Scottish government control for the last 20 years. So there are actually four NHSs.”

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