Speaking after a Freedom of Information response shows that SNP constitution minister Mike Russell told foreign government officials at a private meeting in early November that he wanted a second referendum “by end 2021”, Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said:
“It seems quite extraordinary that the SNP Government is still pushing ahead and spending time and resources developing plans for an independence referendum later this year."
“They appear to inhabit a different universe from the rest of us who are worrying about jobs and livelihoods, not to mention the cruel human cost of the pandemic. Here in Argyll and Bute we are confronted with the ongoing disaster of the A83, a struggling hospitality and tourism sector, and the challenge of delivering the vaccine to our dispersed population."
“Now, more than ever, we need to pull together as a country, put these divisions to one side, and provide the stability and security which is needed as we seek to recover from the pandemic.”
The FOI response revealed that Minutes of a meeting between Mike Russell, the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, and the Australian High Commissioner, George Brandis QC, on 10 November 2020 state: “ GB [George Brandis] enquired about the proposed timing of the referendum post the Scottish election. MR [Mike Russell] confirmed he would hope a second referendum could be held by end 2021.”