Scottish audience dismantles SNP independence plans on BBC QT

BBCQT: SNP challenged over independence claims

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John Swinney, the deputy first minister in Scotland, was met with frustrated Scottish voters last night on BBC Question Time. Mr Swinney, a strong ally of Nicola Sturgeon, watched on as a number of audience members in the East Lothian city of Musselburgh took aim at the SNP plans. Several ‘undecided’ voters in the audience picked apart claims about an independent Scotland and voiced concerns about the economic impact of breaking up the UK.

One woman told Mr Swinney: “I am undecided at the moment because I think the timing is wrong.

“We have a war in Ukraine, we also have a cost of living crisis that affects the whole of the UK.

“I’m still unsure about the economic cost of independence.”

Another woman voiced her concern: “My partner works for a UK company so for us it’s the uncertainty that if Scotland were to become independent, what would happen to his job?

“Would it remain in Scotland?”

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A man raised concerns about the economic viability of an independent Scotland.

He said: “Oil prices completely dropped right after the last independence referendum.

“We would have been bankrupt as a country, so where would the revenue have come from?”

Mr Swinney, who struggled to counter the number of criticisms, sought to defend the SNP’s independence plans after Ms Sturgeon set the date for a referendum on 19 October 2023.

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He said: “We had a larger share of the vote, more MSPs than we had in the previous parliamentary term, and there is a parliamentary majority in favour of legislating for a referendum on independence.”

However, it was not just in the audience that Mr Swinney faced a backlash as The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman questioned the party’s currency strategy.

She said: “Essentially your proposal in terms of independence is to create more turmoil.

“Is it better because it’s SNP turmoil rather than Tory turmoil?”


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Earlier in the programme, Question Time’s host Fiona Bruce was left stunned when she asked who among the audience is in favour of Scottish independence.

She said she was expecting “plenty of pro-independence voices” but was astounded to find that only one audience member nodded their head.

Recent damning polls from YouGov, Survation and Comres all showed that support for independence was flagging.

YouGov found that while ‘yes’ support had grown to 43 percent, ‘no’ remained in the lead at 45 percent.

Survation found only 35 percent of voters wanted a referendum next year, with 53 percent opposed.


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