Scotland’s constitution secretary has said the decision to halt planning for a second independence referendum may need to be revisited due to the Brexit process.
Mike Russell railed against these negotiations and a perceived lack of engagement with the devolved nations from the UK Government when he appeared before Holyrood’s culture, tourism, Europe and external affairs committee.
The Scottish Government announced in March it would postpone planning for another independence referendum in 2020, an issue that was key to the SNP election campaign in 2019.
Following the 2019 general election, the government requested the powers to hold a second independence referendum, which was rejected by the prime minister.
Mr Russell told MSPs the UK Government has refused to compromise on seeking an extension to the December 31 date for the end of the transition period with the EU in the way the Scottish Government has on Scottish independence.
He added: “The fact that they’ve refused to do so shows me that the compromise that we have taken in order to ensure that all our resources are focused on Covid-19 is something we will need to revisit.”
The Cabinet minister said this is “one of the bigger impacts you can have on the economy” without the risk of the increased spread of coronavirus.
He questioned the timing of the Brexit process, which is expected to coincide with a recovery from one of the worst recessions in recorded history due to Covid-19.
Mr Russell said: “If you accept that is the case, what type of insanity would then lead you to suppose you could pile on an additional hit to GDP? The only reason for doing it would be because ideologically you’re fixated by this or because you think you can hide the damage from Brexit under worse damage being done by something else.”
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