Lisa Nandy has torn into Nicola Sturgeon, accusing her of ”brass neck” over her bid for a second independence referendum.
The Labour frontbencher said the first minister should focus on Scotland’s NHS waiting lists, not “launching an election bid”.
Sturgeon unveiled her latest strategy for achieving Scottish independence on Tuesday.
She has proposed October 19, 2023, as the date and written to Boris Johnson to ask for formal consent for the vote to be held.
Sturgeon said she would press on with her plan if this was not granted by the UK government.
Asked if she supported Sturgeon’s actions, Nandy replied: “No. I think Nicola Sturgeon has some brass neck.
“She and her friends in the SNP were the ones who said that the independence referendum was a once in a generation chance to settle the question.
“And what she’s done in the last 24 hours is nothing to do with the interests of Scotland.
“It’s to do with the interests of the SNP. She’s launching an election bid. There are 700,000 people on waiting lists in Scotland for NHS treatment.
“If I were in charge in Scotland, I would be looking very seriously at how to tackle that crisis.”
The shadow levelling up secretary added: “This is a thing that is keeping families awake at night and she ought to be focusing on that.”
Launching the fresh bid yesterday, the first minister said: “My determination is to secure a process that allows the people of Scotland, whether yes, no or yet to be decided, to express their views in a legal, constitutional referendum so the majority view can be established fairly and democratically.”
The UK government said it would examine the first minister’s proposals, but stressed its position that “now is not the time” for another referendum had not changed. It has also said that it is “clear” that the constitution is reserved to Westminster.
The prime minister said: “We’ll study it very carefully and respond properly. I think the focus of the country should be building a stronger economy.
“That’s what we’re doing. I certainly think that we’ll have a stronger economy and a stronger country together.”