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FERGUS EWING: Democracy demands the right to a new referendum because 'the UK is either a partnership of consent or a partnership not worthy of the name'

By Fergus Ewing

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Fergus Ewing.
Fergus Ewing.

Last week the First Minister set out plans to give the people of Scotland a choice on independence. Last year the SNP stood on an election manifesto to deliver a referendum and that democratic will must be respected.

In Scotland it is you, the people, who are, and have always been, sovereign and it is the people’s will which must prevail.

The First Minister set out that she has written to the UK government to ask for a section 30 order to transfer the power to hold a legal referendum to Scotland and has also written to the Supreme Court to ask for the legalities of Holyrood holding a referendum to be determined.

The continued attempts of the UK government to block that democratic will only weaken their standing here in Scotland and internationally.

Much has changed in Scotland and indeed the partnership of the Union since 2014 and if they remain confident in the Union’s benefits to Scotland then they should be willing to put their case to the electorate.

We live in a democracy where election results matter, and continued efforts to thwart the will of the people will fail.

The fact is the SNP have continually been elected on a mandate by the people to deliver them a choice on independence and determine the future of this nation and that is exactly what we intend to do.

The UK is either a partnership of consent or a “partnership” not worthy of the name.

It is time to give people the democratic choice they have voted for and I look forward to campaigning and setting out how independence can build a more prosperous, fairer country that allows for a true partnership of equals with our friends in the rest of the UK.

I am pleased to see initiatives to deliver greater equality for women and young farmers in agriculture benefit from additional funding from the Scottish Government.

The future Women in Agriculture Business Skills Training project will receive £100,000 per year for the next three years, while funding to the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs will see board members develop their leadership skills to create greater diversity in the boardrooms of the future.

Among the projects to be supported by an overall package of more than £400,000 is the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund, which has helped more than 750 trainees attend training courses including tractor and trailer driving, sheepdog handling and chainsaw use.

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