SNP wasted 1488 minutes of Parliament’s time on indyref2

The SNP wasted at least 1488 minutes debating indyref2 during the last Scottish Parliament term.

The Scottish Conservatives said the time - equivalent to more than 24 hours – should have been spent focussing on jobs, drug deaths and schools.

Douglas Ross today appealed for pro-UK voters to use their peach party list votes for the Scottish Conservatives to stop the SNP’s push for another referendum and get all of the focus onto rebuilding Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon has said another referendum should be held while Scotland is still in the “recovery phase.”

In the last week, SNP finance minister Kate Forbes has said that indyref2 should happen “before recovery.”

An SNP MP confirmed on Saturday that their plan is “simply to go ahead with a referendum”, regardless of what the UK Government says.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The SNP wasted more than 1400 minutes of Parliament’s time on another referendum that Scotland didn’t want.

“During that time, drug deaths soared and our schools continued to slide down international league tables. The SNP took their eye off the ball and the damage was disastrous.

“If they win a majority, they’ll squander even more time on their obsession, just when we all need to be 100% focussed on tackling the health and economic crisis.

“Instead of trying to create jobs and improve public services now, they’ll plan for a fantasy future.

“The SNP have no economic case for independence, so they’ll waste time inventing one instead of tackling the economic crisis facing us right now.

“They will wreck Scotland’s recovery with a reckless referendum. Their plan would cost jobs and risk a prolonged recession.

“They’ve already shown they won’t wait to divide the country – they published an indyref2 bill during the pandemic. And just last week, Kate Forbes confirmed they’re planning a referendum ‘before recovery’.

“The next Scottish Parliament can waste more time on the SNP’s obsession or it can be laser-focussed on Scotland’s recovery.

“By using their peach party list votes for the Scottish Conservatives, pro-UK voters can reject a referendum and get all of the focus back onto rebuilding Scotland.”


The SNP wasted 17 hours passing the Referendum Bill through Parliament. Adding up all the time spent debating the Referendum Bill, which was passed to allow the SNP to fast-track any future referendum through Parliament, 16.97 hours worth of Parliamentary time was spent debating and voting on the Bill which became an Act on 29 January 2020. At Stage 1, the Bill was debated between 10.15-11.17 on 26 June 2019, 9.00-11.43 on 4 September 2019, 10.33-11.47 on 11 September 2019, 9.33-11.58 on 18 September 2019, 10.00-11.14 on 25 September 2019, 9.37-10.46 on 9 October 2019, 10.01-10.18 on 30 October 2019 and 14.21-17.02 on 7 November 2019. At Stage 2, the Bill was debated between 10.00-11.22 on 4 December 2019. At Stage 3, the Bill was debated between 13.45-16.36 on 19 December 2019. (Official Reports: 26 June 2019, link; 4 September 2019, link; 11 September 2019, link; 18 September 2019, link; 25 September 2019, link; 9 October 2019, link; 30 October 2019, link; 7 November 2019, link; 4 December 2019, link; 19 December 2019, link).

The SNP have wasted 8 hours debating independence in Parliament between 2016-21. In various motions from the SNP which either call for an independence referendum or reference the need for more devolution to the Scottish Parliament, there have been 8 hours of Parliamentary time wasted debating this. On 28 March 2017, Nicola Sturgeon proposed a motion for debate calling for another divisive independence referendum. This was debated between 14.19-17.12. On 17 January 2017, Fiona Hyslop proposed a motion for debate calling for more powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This was debated between 14.23-17.01. On 29 January 2020, Nicola Sturgeon proposed a motion about holding an independence referendum in 2020. This was debated between 14.44-17.03.  This totals 7.88 hours spent debating these motions. (Official Reports: 17 January 2017, link; 28 March 2017, link; 29 January 2020, link).

Breakdown here of the timings mentioned above:

11.17 – 10.15 = 62

11.43 -9 = 163

11.47 – 10.33 = 74

11.58 – 9.33 = 145

11.14 – 10 = 74

10.46 – 9.37 =  69

10.18 – 10.01 = 17

17.02 – 14.21 = 161

11.22 – 10 = 82

16.36 – 13.45 = 171

17.12 – 14.19 = 173

17.03 – 14.44 = 139

17.01 – 14.23 = 158

= 1488 minutes in total               

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