Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater highlights benefits of Scottish independence

INDEPENDENCE would allow Scotland to take in more refugees, said Scottish Government Minister Lorna Slater, saying it was “time to have a conversation about what kind of country we want to be”.

Scottish Greens co-leader and circular economy minister Lorna Slater made the comments as the UK continues to face criticism for its efforts to help refugees fleeing war in Ukraine.

Slater, who used his speech at his party conference in Stirling on Saturday to say that a ‘fairer, greener and independent Scotland’ could offer ‘safety and solidarity to refugees’, has now confirmed that the Scottish government is still striving to have a vote on the UK’s future in 2023.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon – who brought the Greens into her government six months ago under a co-operation deal – insisted her aim was still to hold such a poll before the end of next year, despite opposition from the British government.

Slater said, “We are working towards having an independence referendum next year.”

She noted that this was part of the Bute House deal – the agreement signed between the SNP and the Greens which brought the latter party into government for the first time in the UK.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Slater said: “It’s time to have a conversation about what kind of country we want to be.

“I think it’s an independent country, a proud member of the EU, which has the power to do things like modernize our own power grid, install our own offshore cables, there are so many things that we can’t not to do.

“Our hands are tied by Westminster, and we could do a lot more as an independent country, we could take in more refugees.”

READ MORE: Priti Patel’s response to Ukrainian refugees: Incompetent, cruel… or both?

His comments came after his co-leader of the Greens, Patrick Harvie, said another referendum on Scottish independence by the end of 2023 was “entirely doable”.

Harvie, the minister for zero-carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, compared the situation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said the UK should not ‘abandon’ its democratic principles by blocking a vote on the Union.

Saying that the world is “so furious and anxious about the deep threat to democracy in Europe right now,” Harvie insisted: “Now is not the time to abandon those democratic principles.

“Now is not the time to say ‘We dare not ask the Scots what choice they would make for their own future’.

“Now is actually the time to redouble our commitment to democracy and say ‘The power belongs to the people’.”

Scottish Conservative Constitutional Spokesman Donald Cameron said: “It is shameful that, despite the fragility of our economic recovery and a war in Ukraine, nationalists still want to keep trying to divide us.

He added: “The last thing we need are independence-obsessed, anti-growth extremist Greens, especially when their economic case for breaking up the UK has never been weaker.

“It is high time for the SNP-Green government to stop fantasizing about separation and focus more on our recovery from the pandemic, as well as supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

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