Moray's MSP Richard Lochhead and MP Douglas Ross clash over SNP's newly released independence papers
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FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the first in a series of papers today that the SNP say will make the renewed case for Independence.
The SNP have declared that it is time to talk about Independence.
The first paper, titled Independence in the Modern World. Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland? looks at 10 neighbouring countries including Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and Finland and how they use their powers of independence as well as comparing the UK's performance with them.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government's paper.
Mr Lochhead said: “There’s no doubt that Scotland – like countries across the world – is facing big challenges right now, but we are also fortunate to have the people and resources needed to navigate those challenges. The one thing we don’t have, is the powers of an independent country, which would allow us to build a better Scotland and to fulfil our potential.
“People in Moray and across Scotland are really suffering as a result of the soaring cost of living, a UK economy that is stagnating, and the damaging impacts of Brexit. These are problems that have all been caused or made worse by the fact that we are not an independent country.
“As a country, we face a stark choice. We can choose to be stuck with Westminster and a system that isn’t working for people or communities in Scotland. Or we can choose to put our future in the hands of the people of Scotland and embrace the opportunity to build a country that is wealthier and fairer.
“After all we’ve gone through, now is the time to look to the future and look at the choice Scotland faces. Scotland has enormous potential and the people who live here will have the chance to choose a better future.
“I would encourage everyone to read the paper and to take part in open, respectful debate and conversation about Scotland’s future and independence.”
However Moray MP Douglas Ross hit out at the SNP and Scottish Greens for the paper.
Mr Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon needs to give it a rest. The people in Moray will be completely dismayed that the SNP leader, backed up by the Greens is pressing ahead with yet another push for independence.
“It is clear that this will always be the number one priority for this SNP-Green government, despite all the challenges Moray is facing right now.
“Moray council have had their budget slashed year after year by the SNP-Green government. Mothers still have to make the treacherous journey on the A96 to give birth as the SNP have still not restored maternity services at Dr Gray’s.
“Our local economy and businesses are only just recovering from Covid, while alongside individuals they are now feeling the effects of the global cost-of-living crisis. Our roads are in urgent need of upgrading and our health service is dealing with a huge backlog of operations.
“That is where the focus the people of Moray want Nicola Sturgeon’s energy to be on, not being distracted by her obsession of breaking up our United Kingdom.
“It is completely unacceptable that resources are being diverted away from frontline services in Moray to be prioritised on dividing us all over again. People in Moray overwhelmingly voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014 and their votes should be respected by Nicola Sturgeon.
“She needs to focus on the real challenges facing Moray, rather than taking her eye off the ball again and obsessing about independence.”
In the 2014 referendum, voters in Moray voted by 58 percent to 42 percent to remain part of the United Kingdom.