The Scottish government had sparked outrage after it appeared to continue putting plans together for a future IndyRef2 in spite of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Eastern Europe. Just last week it published a document outlining its 10 year plan for the Scottish economy, making reference preparation for a new vote.
But today the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford finally admitted “we have got to be respectful of the situation that we are in”.
Mr Blackford said a Scottish independence referendum should “take place in a timely manner” but that the short-term focus must be on Ukraine.
He said: “We have got to be respectful of the responsibilities that we have in the short term, but I’m also respectful to the principle that we have a mandate for an independence referendum.
“I want that referendum to take place in a timely manner.
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“I want us to be able to execute the mandate that we have.
“To those that are expressing a desire for us to get on with our job, of course, we will do so, but we have to be mindful of where we are.”
The climbdown by the SNP comes after the Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for the constitution, Donald Cameron, told Express.co.uk on Saturday that the whole of the UK must be united in standing up to the Kremlin.
“The last thing Scotland needs right now is another deeply divisive independence referendum,” he said.
“Right now all our efforts must be focused on supporting the people of Ukraine and domestically accelerating our recovery from Covid, instead of the SNP pressing ahead with their constitutional obsession.”
The West has sought to stand together in tackling Moscow’s aggression.
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Rows between the UK and EU over Brexit have been placed on the back burner and Britain, Brussels and the US have been coordinating on how to respond to the war.
After appearing to confirm friction between the SNP and Westminster Government over the future of Scotland would also be sidelined, Mr Blackford spoke about the importance of the Prime Minister, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and the devolved administrations “showing a united front to Putin”.
He said: “We’re talking about life and death.
“And we’re talking about the potential for war for all of us in the end.
“And I think there is that responsibility that at times like this, where we can, we have got to stand together.”
The SNP pledged during the Holyrood election campaign last spring to hold a new independence referendum in the current parliamentary term.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was her desire to hold a vote by the end of 2023.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly rejected the timetable saying “now is not the time” for a vote on the future of the United Kingdom.