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Sturgeon dismisses prospect of 'rival' pro-independence party

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Although Nicola Sturgeon's stature has grown during the coronavirus crisis she still faces persistent questions about her approach to securing Scottish independence

Scotland’s First Minster, Nicola Sturgeon, has called on the Scottish National Party (SNP) to unite ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary (Holyrood) election scheduled for May 2021.

Sturgeon, who is also SNP leader, said the pro-independence party must “focus on what matters to people” by putting “aside internal disputes”.

Sturgeon’s warning comes against the backdrop of growing dissension both within the SNP and the wider Scottish independence movement.

Only last month a group of SNP and pro-independence campaigners proposed setting up a new party to contest the Holyrood elections next year.

These campaigners are animated over two issues, notably the SNP’s overly-cautious approach to securing independence and the nature of the Scottish electoral system which makes it hard for one party to win an outright majority of seats.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Sturgeon dismissed the prospect of the emergence of a rival pro-independence party.

The Scottish First Minister said: “The SNP is in a position of strength and we've got as a party to recognize that we don't exist in some kind of bubble”.

However, the SNP leader also cautioned that the party must continue to heed its constituents’ needs and aspirations if it wants to maintain its dominance over Scottish politics.

“If they [the people] ever thought the SNP was turning away from that priority [serving its constituents] and focusing on its own agendas and engaging in infighting I'm sure they [the people] would pass a verdict on that", Sturgeon added.

Scotland’s First Minister has been under pressure since last December’s British general election which ushered in a hardline pro-unionist Tory government.

There is growing anxiety and frustration in pro-independence circles over Sturgeon’s failure to make progress on independence in the face of a decidedly hostile Tory opponent.   



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