27 September 2023

SCOTLAND: UK call for ban on Independence Minister

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The United Kingdom Government Minister charged with overseeing Scottish affairs wants UK Public Servants ordered not to engage with Scotland’s newly-created Minister for Independence.

Alister Jack said the new Minister’s role raised concerns about “constitutional propriety” after the UK Supreme Court ruled the Scottish Parliament could not unilaterally hold an independence referendum.

Newly-installed Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf appointed Jamie Hepburn as Minister for Independence following his Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership victory in late March.

He said the role reflected Edinburgh’s pro-independence majority and the fact the SNP ran on a pledge to deliver a second referendum.

However, Mr Jack (pictured) said the decision was completely out of step with the real priorities of the public, which included continuing to tackle the cost of living, growing Scotland’s economy, tackling National Health Service waiting lists, ensuring energy security, and improving transport links.

“I strongly believe in the need to uphold the reputation and impartiality of the Civil Service in Scotland and I understand that this is a matter for the Scottish Government Permanent Secretary in the first instance and my political colleagues have written to him on this matter,” Mr Jack said.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the First Minister appointed a Ministerial team that reflected the priorities he would pursue in Government.

“This includes including tackling child poverty, improving public services, building a fairer, greener economy, and giving people the information about devolution and independence that they need to make an informed choice about Scotland’s constitutional future,” the spokesperson said.

Edinburgh, 8 May 2023

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