Unionists slam Sturgeon’s new referendum call as ‘opportunistic nationalism’

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said elements of the SNP wanted a second referendum 'at any cost'

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said elements of the SNP wanted a second referendum 'at any cost'

Nicola Sturgeon’s renewed drive to have a second Scottish independence referendum called has been branded “opportunistic nationalism” by Nigel Dodds.

The DUP MP and deputy leader of the party said the “notion this has anything to do with Brexit flies in the face of all facts,” and added: “Within days of the first referendum result it was clear there were elements within the SNP that wanted to re-run the referendum at any cost.”

Mr Dodds said it was only a few years ago that the SNP told the people that a referendum “would settle the issue of Scottish independence for a generation”.

He said: “Now Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she wants to repeat the process within a few years. Should the UK government not accede to this demand it will simply be presented as another grievance, regardless of the facts.

“Within days of the first referendum result it was clear there were elements within the SNP that wanted to re-run the referendum at any cost.

“This is another prime example of opportunistic nationalism. Whilst complaining about a ‘hard Brexit’ Nicola Sturgeon would create a huge black hole in Scotland’s finances and bring about economic consequences far worse than any of the dire predictions made before the EU referendum.”

Mr Dodds added: “Having complained about the unknown elements of leaving the European Union, the SNP are now prepared to risk even greater unknowns by wanting to leave one of the most successful political unions in history and, as the European Commission confirmed again today (Monday), an independent Scotland still wouldn’t be in the EU.”

Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott said he didn’t sense there was any great momentum towards a second referendum.

“I’m not sure why Nicola Sturgeon has gone this far at this stage. She has seemingly pulled this out of thin air and I think she has made a wrong decision if she is going to push for that.”

Mr Elliott also said there is no guarantee an independent Scotland will get admitted to the Europe Union in the short term, if at all.

“There’s certainly no guarantee they would win a referendum,” he added.