IndyRef2 delayed due to coronavirus

Published by Alice Jaspars on March 19th 2020, 10:10am

Preparations for a second Scottish independence referendum have been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mike Russell, the constitution secretary, has said that current plans have been “paused” for at least a year.

Russell said that the decision will allow the Scottish government to put all its energy into the current health crisis.

A letter sent to Michael Gove, the UK cabinet minister, read: "Because of the crisis, the Scottish government has paused work on preparing for an independence referendum this year.

"We have also written to the Electoral Commission to make clear we do not expect it to undertake testing of a referendum question until public health circumstances permit such activity.

"That will allow us to focus all available resource on current and future demands in what is an unprecedented set of circumstances.

"It follows from this that a referendum will not be held this year."

Russell asked the British government to delay Brexit negotiations at this time for the very same reasons.

He said: "It would seem impossible for business and others to cope with the enormous challenge of coronavirus while at the same time preparing for a completely new relationship with the EU in nine months' time."

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservative constitution secretary, welcomed the news, and said it came “as a relief to workers and businesses alike".

Nicola Strugeon, first minister for Scotland, said that activists ought to stop and campaigning, and instead "focus on looking out for your family, friends and neighbours".

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Authored By

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 19th 2020, 10:10am

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