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Kate Forbes: SNP must beef up preparations for independence vote

By Tom Ramage

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Leadership contender Kate Forbes has set a range of practical measures which she will adopt as part of her approach to winning independence if she is elected Scotland’s First Minister.

Acknowledging the “harsh truth” that the party hasn’t been properly preparing for independence, the Finance Secretary said capabilities had to be built up – such as new organisations to cover reserved matters including energy, finance and foreign affairs – so the public could have greater confidence in the case for change.

The candidates from left: Ash Regan, Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf.
The candidates from left: Ash Regan, Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf.

The SNP leadership candidate also said greater respect and co-operation was required within the wider Yes movement so that campaigning could be more impactful.

Kate Forbes, (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) said: “As a party we must mobilise the expertise we need to properly prepare for independence and give the people of Scotland confidence we know what we are about. The harsh truth is the groundwork isn’t quite there.

“For example, we need to plan for the building of a Scottish civil service to cover all the functions of an independent country.

"A lot of our public bodies are currently constrained by devolution, and we also need new institutions for energy, financial regulation and foreign affairs.

“Let’s engage professionally with the international community so we can ensure we are given international legitimacy – that means serious dialogue with bodies like the UN and the EU.

“Learn the lessons of how the UK dealt with the EU and lost – so we need to identify and build the capabilities of negotiators so we are not left exposed and shortchanged.”

The Finance Secretary added: “I’m a democrat, and I know there are differences in political views amongst the Yes movement. But we need more respect across these differences if we are to build co-operation around our central purpose of independence.

“Just as I am very willing to work with those in the SNP who have slightly different policy priorities to me, as this leadership contest demonstrates, I will also work with those in the wider Yes movement – they deserve my respect too.

“If we are serious about independence, we need to ensure we maximise the impact of shared resources and campaign purposes.”

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