Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has said he will put aside his differences with Nicola Sturgeon and work with the SNP leader to hold a second independence referendum.
Speaking to Sky News’ Beth Rigby interview programme, Mr Salmond said another referendum on whether Scotland should leave the UK is “full commitment now” and that thinks it will happen “by October 2023”.
Earlier this week, the current Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon unveiled what she called a ‘refreshed’ argument for independence.
In an article titled “Independence in the Modern World. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland’, she said her government had an ‘unquestionable mandate’ for a second independence referendum and that Scotland needed to ‘forge a way forward’ for ensure that the ballot takes place.
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She insisted the SNP won last May’s election with a ‘clear commitment to giving the people of Scotland the choice to become an independent country’.
“If we are to maintain democracy here in Scotland, we must chart a much-needed path without a Section 30 order,” the first minister said.
But Downing Street has repeatedly said now is not the time for another independence referendum.
Mr. Salmondnow leader of the Alba Party in Scotland, has been at odds with the Scottish government in recent years – led by the First Minister – over its handling of harassment allegations against him.
Last year he claimed that former colleagues in the party he led had tried to remove him from public life and even have him imprisoned.
Mr Salmond said senior SNP and Scottish Government officials were involved in a ‘malicious and concerted effort’ to damage his reputation and alleged the current First Minister breached the Ministerial Code.
In return, Mrs. Sturgeon accused him of creating an “alternate reality”.
Launch of the SNP campaign for the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, Ms Sturgeon launched a thinly veiled attack on her predecessor.
“I don’t have much time these days for the ‘who’s up/who’s down’ approach to politics. And I certainly have a lot less patience for those who treat politics like a game. – and for those who put their personal interests ahead of the best interests of the country,” she said.
But speaking to Sky News, Mr Salmond said he now believed Ms Sturgeon was the ‘inevitable’ person to lead the campaign for a second Scottish independence referendum, adding he would share a platform with her to make sure it would be a success.
“For the second part of your question, in terms of being the right person, she’s the inevitable person to lead the campaign,” he said.
“She is the head of the Scottish government. The Scottish government has a leading role in the independence referendum.”
Asked if the personal animosity between the two men has now dissipated, the former Prime Minister replied that the personal differences between him and Ms Sturgeon are ‘insignificant in relation to the national cause of the independence of Europe. ‘Scotland”.
“I don’t think you would find any personal difficulties in the way of something that is much bigger, much bigger than two individuals,” he added.
Mr Salmond has previously said the creation of his new pro-independence Alba party was aimed at building a “super-majority” for a second referendum.
He told Sky News he believed the Scottish Government’s word that this vote would take place before the next general election.
“It’s a no if, no but now commitment that there will be a referendum by October next year. So the national movement, Scotland, I’m looking forward to taking part in that referendum,” said Mr. Salmond.
He added that it is ‘fair and appropriate to point out that other smaller European countries are doing much better than the UK economically’ and that he is ‘pleased that the starting gun has finally been fired’ by the SNP outlining their proposal is heading towards securing a second independent ballot.
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