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Scottish independence would be like Brexit on a rocket to Mars, Lib Dem leader warns

Scottish party leader Willie Rennie said now is not the time for another referendum on the issue.

Image: PA

INDEPENDENCE FOR SCOTLAND would be like Brexit on a rocket to Mars, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said.

Speaking at the UK Liberal Democrat spring conference, Rennie said now is not the moment for the “long, divisive, argumentative, exhausting, all-consuming event” of another referendum on the issue.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has indicated such a vote could be held towards the end of this year if his party is re-elected at Holyrood in May.

But Mr Rennie said the priority of the Liberal Democrats for the next five years will be to put recovery from the pandemic first.

He said: “Reasonable people would agree, no matter what they think about independence, that this is not the moment for another referendum.

“But they see in the news that the SNP want a vote by this Christmas. In the middle of a pandemic, when thousands have lost their lives, thousands more have lost their job and our normal freedoms have been taken from us.

“Now is not the moment for that long, divisive, argumentative, exhausting, all-consuming event.

“An event that would suffocate our country, snuff out debate on other important matters and split our country asunder.

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“We don’t have to guess what it would be like. We’ve had an independence campaign before. Families were split, friendships were broken, business was lost.

“And we had Brexit. The scars are deep. Independence would be Brexit Mark 2. Independence would be like Brexit on a rocket to Mars.

“It would take a lot of energy, the journey is very long and there is no way back.

“That is why I want people in Scotland to put aside our differences on independence and focus on the recovery.”

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