Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed “preparatory work is underway” to enable a second referendum to be held – a commitment both the SNP and their Scottish Green Party partners in Government made in their manifestos for last year’s Holyrood elections. But BBC Scotland presenter Martin Geissler questioned SNP’s Alyn Smith over whether the Ukraine crisis has changed the party’s plans for hold a second referendum. Mr Smith told BBC Scot Nine: “That’s more a question for the First Minister than me but I would actually say that what’s happening right now demonstrates why we should be an independent state within the European Union.
“Look at the disastrous situation the UK’s got itself into about refugees.
“The rhetoric just doesn’t match the reality, there’s been barely 50 visas actually issued.
“A story about the sight at Calais that the Home Secretary said does have a resource there for processing people but it doesn’t.
“The EU by contrast has said to all the people in Ukraine, for three years get yourself here, we’ll waive the paperwork and sort it out afterwards.
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“Likewise on sanctions, the UK is talking a good game but actually it’s the EU that’s very much leading the way on sanctions and humanitarian aid as well.
“I want to see Scotland as part of those efforts but so long as we continue to be run by the UK, we will be the odd one out.
“The UK could have been central to the European efforts to support Ukraine, instead of its chosen isolation.
“I want to see Scotland as part of the European family working together and I don’t see why anything that is happening now should slow us down.”
Meanwhile, Westminster leader of the SNP said a Scottish independence referendum should “take place in a timely manner” but the short-term focus must be on Ukraine.
Ian Blackford said the party must be “respectful of the responsibilities” it has following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, adding he remains committed to delivering on the independence mandate.
But he cautioned those wanting immediate progress on organising a second vote on independence to be “mindful of where we are” given events elsewhere in the world.
At the beginning of February, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed “preparatory work is under way” to enable a second referendum to be held – a commitment both the SNP and their Scottish Green Party partners in Government made in their manifestos for last year’s Holyrood elections.
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Not even a month later, though, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his long-feared “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine, making the risk of confrontation between Russia and the Western alliance a tangible possibility.
Mr Blackford, speaking to the PA news agency, weighed his words carefully when asked about his party’s plans for independence.
The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber took a long pause, before saying “we have got to be respectful of the situation that we are in” and insisting “the only thing I am focusing on today is Ukraine”.
He said: “We have got to be respectful of the responsibilities that we have in the short term, but I’m also respectful to the principle that we have a mandate for an independence referendum.
“I want that referendum to take place in a timely manner. I want us to be able to execute the mandate that we have.”