Just what planet is Humza on? First Minister’s ‘crackpot’ plan to trigger independence if SNP wins HALF of Scots seats at general election
- He signs off SNP conference motion to ‘begin immediate negotiations’ on breaking up Britain
- And goes further than Sturgeon’s ‘de facto referendum’ plan to begin negotiations if the SNP won a majority of votes
Humza Yousaf yesterday launched a ‘crackpot’ plan to trigger independence if the SNP wins more Scottish seats than any other party at Westminster.
The First Minister will ‘begin immediate negotiations’ if his party secures ‘the most’ seats in Scotland at the General Election.
Mr Yousaf’s motion, also signed by his party’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, suggests that the SNP could face significant losses in the Commons but still claim a mandate for independence.
He would then seek to begin negotiations with the UK Government ‘to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country’.
But Mr Yousaf was accused last night of inventing ‘dreamland policy’ in a bid to keep his warring party together. Critics also said his latest bid for separation was an even more extreme version of Nicola Sturgeon’s de facto referendum plan.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: ‘It seems like Humza Yousaf and Stephen Flynn have lost the plot.
‘They had a gold standard referendum and lost it but now they want to invent a crackpot alternative that allows them to lose a bunch of seats but still break up the UK with a fraction of the vote. It certainly doesn’t say much for their confidence in their electoral strategy. Rather than promising to burn absurd amounts of taxpayer money on silly stunts, the Nationalists should be focused on cutting soaring waiting lists and tackling the cost of living crisis.’
Professor Jim Gallagher, chairman of the Our Scottish Future think-tank, described it as a ‘dreamland policy’ aimed at ‘nationalist zealots’ rather than the wider general public.
Under Mr Yousaf’s plan, he would attempt to declare independence even if the SNP lost 18 or more of the 48 seats it won in 2019.
It downgrades the previous ‘de facto referendum’ plan by Ms Sturgeon, who wanted to begin negotiations on independence if the SNP won a majority of votes in Scotland in a general election.
Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said: ‘Humza Yousaf has made it crystal clear. He’s hellbent on pushing forward an even more extreme version of Nicola Sturgeon’s deeply unpopular de facto referendum plan. People vote on a whole host of issues at general elections, rather than just on what Humza Yousaf wants them to. The self-styled First Activist is continuing to prioritise his independence obsession over every other issue, which is a dereliction of duty during these challenging times.’
The motion by the SNP’s leadership will be debated at its party conference in Aberdeen next month. It says the General Election, expected to be held next year, should be used ‘as an opportunity to advance the cause of independence’ and the SNP manifesto would state, ‘On page one, line one: vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country’.
It goes on: ‘Conference believes that if the SNP subsequently wins the most seats at the General Election in Scotland, the Scottish Government is empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country.’
Scottish Labour constitution spokesman Neil Bibby said ‘The SNP is considering moving the goalposts once again as they scramble for relevance at the next election.
‘This election won’t be about their constitutional obsession – it will be about booting out this failing Tory government and delivering a fresh start, and only Labour can do that.’
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: ‘Whatever guise it takes, the de facto plan is unwanted and unworkable. It was ridiculed far and wide when his predecessor came up with it, and this version from Humza Yousaf is just as much of a nonsense.’
Former First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Alba Party, said: ‘No one seriously believes that proposing a majority of seats as an independence mandate is at all credible.
‘Given that Westminster have been allowed over repeated elections to dismiss a majority of SNP seats as a mandate for a mere referendum, why on earth would they concede it as a mandate for negotiating independence itself?’
Explaining the reason for claiming victory if the SNP wins ‘the most’ Scottish seats rather than a majority, an SNP source said: ‘It’s because at Westminster you win the election if you win more seats than any other party.’