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Nicola Sturgeon told she will not see Scottish independence as FM

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Former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and author Jeffrey Archer argued Scotland could become independent but the SNP leader might not last long enough to see it as First Minister. The best selling international novelist and House of Lords peer said he would be disappointed if Scotland were to leave the Union.

Lord Archer, who now does not affiliate with any party, said: “It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in May if Nicola Sturgeon gets a big majority and whether she says that gives her the authority to have another poll.

“If the Scottish people give her a large majority and almost 60 percent of them want independence, I would be very disappointed but I wouldn’t be against them having the right to test it.

“The world has changed beyond recognition.”

He stressed that he didn’t expect to “see it [independence] in my lifetime but I think you’ll see an independent Scotland at some time”.

Lord Archer made clear: “One of the problems with politics, as Margaret Thatcher found out, is that there is a time limit whomever you are. And she has been there a long time.

“I think she’ll get through to the next election safely enough – by that, I mean in May.

“But I suspect her days are numbered in the sense that nobody can survive beyond 10 or 11 years.

“Even Angela Merkel, who I am a huge fan of, has decided to go.”

At the same time, Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack claimed the SNP were determined to start a row with Westminster saying they outstrip their desire to support Scotland’s economy and Scottish jobs.

He added today: “The Nationalists consistently put the nationalist interest ahead of the national interest.

“SNP Ministers need to take the batteries out of the grievance machine, stop stirring conflict with the UK Government, and seek to work with us instead.”

Mr Jack stressed the importance of economic support Scotland has received during the COVID-19 pandemic from the UK Government, saying it has been a “lifeline for many Scottish people and Scottish businesses”.

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He argued: “Scotland needs both its governments to work together to build a successful future for all of us.

“That is why I made clear last week that we expect the SNP to honour its once-in-a-generation promise on an independence vote.”

Mr Jack had dismissed the prospect of having a second vote on whether the country should stay in the UK.

With SNP leaders having previously described the 2014 ballot as a “once in a generation” event, the Scottish Tory MP suggested a generation could be “25 or 40 years”.

Mr Jack insisted: “I don’t think we should keep having referendums until they get their own way, it should respect the outcome of the one we had.”

Nicola Sturgeon responded to that by tweeting that “politicians who rage against democracy don’t prevail”.

Keith Brown MSP, deputy leader of the SNP, added: “The Holyrood election six months from today will be the most important in Scotland’s history and will determine our country’s future.

“Effective leadership during the global pandemic is proving a real boost to support for an independent Scotland.

“The SNP will continue to focus on what’s important to the people of Scotland, and each and every day we will work hard to retain the trust placed in us.

“Tory governments at Westminster that we didn’t vote for, led by the likes of Boris Johnson, can’t be trusted to work in Scotland’s interests.”

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