Home News SNP an ‘absolute mess’ as ‘toxic’ party could derail Sturgeon’s independence dream

SNP an ‘absolute mess’ as ‘toxic’ party could derail Sturgeon’s independence dream

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Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to press ahead with plans for a second independence referendum after the SNP won its fourth consecutive Holyrood election. The SNP won 64 seats, missing out on an overall majority by just one seat, after winning a record number of constituencies despite a surge in anti-independence tactical voting. This has provoked Ms Sturgeon to warn Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Scotland will get a second referendum on independence. She said: “Given the outcome of this election, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future.

“If the Tories make such an attempt it will demonstrate conclusively that the UK is not a partnership of equals and that – astonishingly – Westminster no longer sees the UK as a voluntary union of nations. That in itself would be a most powerful argument for Scotland becoming an independent country.”

However, experts and commentators have warned that internal divisions within the party could upend the SNP’s main objective.

Neil Mackay, author and columnist at The Herald, said in February that the party is in an “absolute mess” despite its electoral dominance.

He added: “There are multiple schisms at the moment – splits over identity issues, splits along Salmond-Sturgeon lines, and splits along the best path to independence. It’s [a] deeply riven party at the moment. Very dysfunctional and toxic.”

His comments came as the Salmond-Sturgeon row was rumbling and prominent SNP figure Joanna Cherry was sacked.

Mike Small, editor of the influential pro-independence website Bella Caledonia, suggested the “Cherry faction” at Westminster may wish to consider leaving the party to avoid doing damage to the independence cause.

He added: “It’s all reminiscent of the collapse of the Labour Party in the Eighties or the implosion of the Tory Party in recent years.

“At some point… you either leave because you are convulsed with such rage or you are booted out.”

READ MORE: SNP: ‘Scottish Government in meltdown’ after party’s ‘humiliation’

The Strathclyde University academic added that it is unclear at this stage how Scotland would vote in a referendum.

He continued in his interview with The Sun: “This election has very clearly underlined the sharp, even division between unionism and support for independence.

“As Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon work out their strategy in the coming months, they’ll both be aware that for both of them holding a referendum will be an enormous gamble unless the polls shift.

“At the moment frankly none of us knows whether or not in the end Scotland would vote in favour of independence.”

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