Sturgeon told coronavirus outbreak proves why SNP must scrap Scottish independence plot

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has continued to demand powers for a second vote to break free from the rest of Britain. These calls have increased following Brexit on January 31, which Scotland's First Minister has happened against the will of the Scottish people, who voted by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent to remain part of the European Union in 2016. This came a year after the country also voted against independence by 55 percent to 45 percent.

Boris Johnson has refused to grant Holyrood the powers to push through a second referendum on independence, insisting he will honour the result from the first vote nearly five years ago.

But earlier this month Scotland's Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell wrote to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove to tell him planning for another independence vote has been "paused" to focus on the "unprecedented" impact from coronavirus.

Ms Sturgeon and Mr Johnson have so far put their differences aside and worked effectively on the coronavirus crisis in the UK, with the SNP leader throwing her full support behind the lockdown measures enforced by the Prime Minister earlier this week.

Italy has continued to lash out at the EU, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte raging at his colleagues in the bloc after they failed to agree an economic rescue package to help his coronavirus-ravaged country.

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Nicola Sturgeon has been issued a warning over her demands for Scottish independence (Image: GETTY)

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The SNP leader had demanded a second referendum on Scottish independence (Image: GETTY)

But political experts have claimed Scotland being able to work effectively with the rest of Britain and not having to rely on the EU's already-stretched budget to bail them out demonstrates perfectly why Ms Sturgeon should scrap independence plans.

Patrick Sullivan, CEO of Parliament Street think tank, told “COVID-19 is clear evidence that the UK should be pulling together as one right now. This is not a time for petty party politics.

"But the SNP seem oblivious to the fact that, as a country with one of the highest debt to GDP ratios in Europe, they would be at much greater economic risk as an independent country.

“Scotland would be at a much higher risk than other eurozone members as an independent nation trying to navigate itself through COVID-19.

READ MORE: Sturgeon’s independence dream HALTED: Coronavirus postpones SNP plans

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Boris Johnson has said he will honour the result of the first Scottish independence referendum from 2015 (Image: GETTY)

"It would almost certainly mean that they lean on the EU for support, and Brussels will only provide such support if Scotland would be prepared to sign up warts and all to eurozone membership.”

Dr Steve McCabe, Associate Professor with the Institute for Design and Economic Acceleration at Birmingham City University, claimed Italian people are frustrated with the regionalisation in the country preventing a more co-ordiated effort from the Government towards coronavirus, and are jealous of the UK.

He also warned Scotland would have to "join the queue" in asking the EU for already-stretched funds if it had been independent at this time, and would not receive any special favours from Brussels above any other member state.

Dr McCabe said: "Interestingly, in talking to an Italian journalist friend based in Bologna, I was provided with the sense that Italy’s regionalisation is believed to have militated against more concerted and coordinated action by its government in dealing with the effects of coronavirus, particularly in Lombardy that has been so ravaged.

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Scotland voted to remain in the UK during the referendum in 2015 (Image: GETTY)

coronavirus uk cases

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has continued to accelerate (Image: GETTY)

"Many in Italy look to the UK with a sense of envy that we have a centralised government that can take decisions that apply to all citizens and mobilise resources accordingly.

"The EU’s funds were already being stretched before the current crisis and whether there will be enough to cope is a moot question, the answer will determine the fate of hundreds of millions of people.

"Money will be dedicated to assist the regions worst affected. If, hypothetically, Scotland were independent and part of the EU, it would have to join the queue of countries.

"Scotland could expect no special favours above any other member of the EU all of which are equal though, of course, some seem more equal than others."

coronavirus uk lockdown

The UK has been placed on lockdown in a desperate attempt to contain coronavirus (Image: EXPRESS)

Wyn Grant, a political scientist and professor of politics at the University of Warwick, insisted effective cooperation is "essential" during the coronavirus crisis when there is a busy land border.

He described the EU's response to the pandemic as "lame", with member states having to manage on their own - a fate that Scotland could be faced with if it breaks from the UK.

Mr Grant said: "No doubt the Scottish Government would claim it has taken its own initiatives on coronavirus ahead of the UK, but in practice effective cooperation is essential when there is a busy land border.

"The EU's response has been lame and largely irrelevant and it has been left to the member states to devise their own policies.

"An independent Scotland would have to manage largely on its own and would find this challenging."

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