Joanna Cherry criticised after arguing Indyref2 not only route to independence
A SENIOR SNP MP has been accused of “irresponsible” and “insulting” remarks after arguing a second referendum is not the only route to independence.
Joanna Cherry QC said Ireland shows part of the UK can leave without such a vote, but insisted “no-one wants to replicate the violence that preceded those negotiations”.
A virtual SNP national assembly is set to discuss “the tactics and strategy on the route from here to Independence Day” later this month.
Ms Cherry said she agreed a “legal and constitutional way to demonstrate that public opinion in Scotland has changed since the 2014 referendum” must be found.
She said the “easiest and best way to do that” would be to replicate the referendum held in 2014.
However she questioned what would happen if Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued to refuse this.
Writing in The National, she said: “It is foolish and dangerous to rail against having a plan to do things differently, should it be required.”
The Edinburgh South West MP added: “Dangerous, because it reinforces the power of our adversary and cements in the minds of the international community that the only way Scotland can leave the UK and become independent legally and constitutionally is by replicating the 2014 referendum.
“This is patently not true. One hundred years ago, Irish independence came about not as a result of a referendum but as a result of a treaty negotiated between Irish parliamentarians and the British Government after nationalist MPs had won the majority of Irish seats in the 1918 General Election and withdrawn to form a provisional government in Dublin.
“While no-one wants to replicate the violence that preceded those negotiations, the Treaty is in legal and constitutional terms a clear precedent which shows that a constituent part of the UK can leave and become independent by a process of negotiation after a majority of pro-independence MPs win an election in that constituent part.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously told activists there are no “shortcuts or clever wheezes that can magically overcome the obstacles we face”.
Speaking in January last year, she ruled out a consultative referendum in defiance of UK Government opposition in the short-term, as it was legally uncertain.
However she said she did not rule it out forever if the UK kept blocking another referendum.
Ms Sturgeon’s strategy has focused on building support for independence, arguing it is “unsustainable” for the UK Government to continued to block another vote.
But some activists have expressed frustration with this approach.
Mr Johnson recently suggested a second referendum should not take place until the 2050s.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union, criticised Ms Cherry’s remarks.
She said: “These are irresponsible remarks from a leading SNP figure and Nicola Sturgeon should distance her party from these comments.
“The comparison with what happened in Ireland over 100 years ago is insulting.
“Ignoring the views of the people of Scotland and leaving the UK by the back door would be a democratic outrage.
“The SNP should drop its obsession with how to divide our nation and work on bringing people together to rebuild our economy and public services.”