IndyRef2: Susanna Reid grills Ian Blackford
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The Cabinet Office minister responsible for the Union also strongly hinted ministers would defend the Union by “learning lessons” from the initial 2014 vote and take a different approach on IndyRef2. Mr Gove, appearing before the Lords Constitution Committee, also said he would be retired by the time a second separation vote takes place.
The minister is 53 years old and is expected to serve as an MP for another Parliamentary term, which could rule out the prospect of another vote for eight years.
Taking questions from Peers, the Cabinet Office minister was asked if the UK Government would have contingencies in place if there were to be a vote in favour of independence in the future.
Under questioning from Lord Hennessy, Mr Gove added: “For a host of reasons, I don’t think we should be having a referendum any time soon, but should there be a referendum in the future, I think it is important that we learn lessons from the 2014 referendum.
“The lesson that you’ve pointed out is a fair one.
“I make no criticism of people involved in the Edinburgh Agreement or anything after that – where they were entering uncharted territory – but of course we could learn from that about what might be a better approach in the future.”
The UK Government has long rejected the idea of another referendum, rejecting any request from the Scottish Government for the powers to hold one currently.
A Scottish Conservative Party spokesperson added: “As we recover from the devastating effects of the Covid pandemic, the last thing Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum.
“All of our focus should be on our economic recovery and rebuilding our communities.”
It comes after the left-wing favourite to lead the Unite union has said he supports “self-determination” in Scotland.
Deputy Unite General Secretary Steve Turner, who is looking to replace Len McCluskey, said it is a “decision for the Scottish people”.
SNP politicians said the comments from Mr Turner showed he backed Indyref2.
Pressure has also been put on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after a poll revealed 55 percent of UK party members support a referendum on Scottish independence in the next few years.
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SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “Keir Starmer is completely out of touch with his own party members, who clearly support Scotland’s right to choose our future in a post-pandemic referendum.
“The Labour Party ruined its reputation in Scotland by backing Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, supporting austerity cuts, imposing Trident nuclear weapons and working hand-in-hand with the Tories in Better Together.”
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