George Galloway spots 'separatist' plot as Scots escape census – 'How is this allowed?'

This year’s census covered every household in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and had an added element to it – gauging how the Covid pandemic had impacted people’s lives. Scots did not take part in the questionnaire, as Holyrood decided to push back the tally by a year.

Those north of the border will be asked to answer the set of questions in March 2022 instead “due to the impact of COVID-19”.

Scottish secretary for economy, fair work and culture, Fiona Hyslop, insisted the decision “was not taken lightly”.

Mr Galloway hit out at the move and questioned how the SNP-led Government was able to break away from the rest of the UK on the matter.

He said collecting data from citizens was clearly a UK matter and should have been done in all four nations at the same time.

The politician said he suspected a “separatist” mentality was at play when Ms Sturgeon and her Cabinet reached their decision.

He tweeted: “How were the SNP allowed to take Scotland out of the UK census? The very definition of a UK matter?

“How can everywhere else in the state be in the census despite the Pandemic but not us?

“Who allowed this? Why wasn’t it contested? This is transparently separatist manoeuvring…”

READ MORE: SNP faces ‘massacre’ at ballot box if Nicola Sturgeon stays

The committee had been tasked with investigating the Scottish government’s handling of harassment allegations made by several women against Ms Sturgeon’s predecessor Alex Salmond.

The group’s full report is due to be published on Tuesday.

If Ms Sturgeon is found to have breached the ministerial code it will be a grave matter for her political career.

Last week, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined a growing number of voices to say if Ms Sturgeon was found to have broken the code she should step down.

The headache for the Scottish nationalist leader comes less than two months out from the Holyrood elections.

The SNP had been predicted to win a majority in the Scottish parliament.

But the fiasco has threatened to derail the party’s efforts to win over voters.

And recent polls have shown the scandal has also caused a noticeable drop in support for Scottish independence, a cause which Ms Sturgeon has remained dedicated to throughout the pandemic.

A poll conducted by Survation suggested seven in 10 Scots want to see the issue of another independence referendum ahead of the Scottish parliamentary elections in May.

The survey commissioned by-UK campaign group Scotland in Union ran from March 9 to 12, with 1,011 Scots over the age of 16 taking part.

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