The Scottish Conservatives are today demanding Humza Yousaf explains the “shameful” decision of the SNP cabinet, which he served in, to launch a fresh independence push at the height of the Covid pandemic.
Shadow constitution secretary Donald Cameron has submitted a Topical Question to the Presiding Officer after minutes of a Scottish cabinet meeting on 30 June 2020, obtained by the UK Covid inquiry, revealed that relaunching a referendum drive was on the agenda.
According to the minutes, ministers “agreed that consideration be given to restarting work on independence and a referendum” – despite the public health emergency that was occurring at the time in Scotland and across the world.
Donald Cameron insists Humza Yousaf, who was justice secretary at the time, must come clean on what was discussed at the meeting, why, and whether he voiced any concerns about the “scandalous decision to focus on SNP political objectives during a public health emergency”.
Scottish Conservative shadow constitution secretary Donald Cameron MSP said: “This astonishing and shameful revelation from the UK Covid inquiry explains why Nicola Sturgeon and many of her senior colleagues were so keen to delete their WhatsApp messages.
“If a discussion on pushing their independence obsession was talked about around the cabinet table, we can only imagine the extent of the SNP’s crass constitutional opportunism on private messaging.
“The Scottish people are entitled to know why a government that assured us public safety was its sole focus was gaming its push for another independence referendum while the death toll mounted.
“Humza Yousaf was a senior figure around the cabinet table at the time. Did he voice any objections to this disgracefully skewed priority? If not, why not?
“I have this morning submitted a Topical Question on this. If it’s selected, I would urge the First Minister, in the interests of his own credibility and integrity, to respond on behalf of his government.
“The Scottish people deserve an explanation for the scandalous decision to focus on SNP political objectives during a public health emergency.”
The Topical Question submitted by Donald Cameron to the Presiding Officer: “TATSG whether it can confirm that it considered ‘restarting work on independence and a referendum with the arguments reflecting the experience of the coronavirus crisis’ in June 2020 as revealed at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.”