THE SNP’s Philippa Whitford wasn’t messing about in the latest Scottish Questions session in the Commons.
Alister Jack was up at the despatch box trying to defend his ludicrous comments about blocking indyref2 for four decades.
You might remember that The Tory Scottish Secretary told the BBC last week that there’d be no vote any time soon.
“It’s no for a generation,” he told the BBC.
Asked to define a generation, he said: “Is it 25 years or is it 40 years? You tell me. But it’s certainly not six years, nor 10”.
And then, on Tuesday, Jack claimed he was just joking.
The Secretary of State for Scotland said he only mentioned the four-decade wait for a new vote because the BBC journalist interviewing him had “raised an eyebrow”.
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However, he said he would be happy with a new referendum 25 years after the first one.
Whitford said it was odd that Jack seemed to think that the way to strengthen the Union is by “forcing a hard Brexit on Scotland against our will, taking an axe to devolution with the internal market bill. and denying any democratic choice on Scotland’s future until adults like me are dead”.
“On that basis, does he think the best recipe for a happy marriage is to lock up the wife, take away our cheque book and just keep refusing a divorce?”
“I think it’s quite straightforward. I think people should respect democracy,” the Tory replied.
He added: “We are respecting democracy. We are saying we’re acknowledging ‘once in a generation’.
“We don’t believe Scotland should be thrown under the uncertainty of neverendums. It’s very straightforward. A generation by any calculation is 25 years and frankly you just have to accept that and focus on what matters which is recovering from this pandemic us all pulling together.“
Mhairi Black asked Jack where it said in the Edinburgh Agreement that there could not be another referendum.
The minister didn’t answer the question. He said: “It beggars belief that the SNP carry on talking about independence referendums, and about separation I find it really quite disappointing, but the answer to her question is that it was mentioned many times in the white paper that the SNP government produced in advance of that referendum once in a generation was mentioned on a number of pages.”
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Here’s the answer. It doesn’t appear once in the Edinburgh Agreement.
Jack’s right though, it does appear in the White Paper. Three times.
So that’s it. You’ve had your vote Scotland. If only there’d been three general elections, and a Scottish Parliament election and a series of polls to allow voters to make clear exactly what it is they want…