The SNP leadership candidates tonight clashed over how they would deliver Scottish independence. Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes took part in the first televised debate of the contest on STV.
But the trio disagreed on how they would secure a second Scottish independence referendum.
Ms Regan fumed about going “going cap in hand to Westminster” for a fresh referendum.
The former community safety minister said: “We can’t keep on doing the same things that we’ve been doing. We’ve been spending many years now seeking what I’m going to define as a moral mandate.
“So we’re winning election after election, we have these moral mandates, then we’re going cap in hand to Westminster begging them and asking them to give us what is really an advisory referendum.
“But what I’m suggesting is that a referendum really is just another way to use the ballot box and a referendum is not the gold standard, the ballot box is the gold standard.
“So I’m suggesting we give the power back to the people of Scotland and we let them decide when it’s time for Scotland to become independent. So there’s a permanent mechanism for Scots to express that choice for independence.”
But Ms Forbes argued that independence would only happen when a majority of Scots had been won over.
The Scottish Finance Secretary said: “That requires a leader who doesn’t just inspire the Yes movement but can also reach out to those who are not yet persuaded.
“It also means putting the economy front and centre, ensuring we’ve got a prospectus that demonstrates how Scotland can be fairer, wealthier and greener like other small independent countries.
“Lastly, it’s about showing how Scotland can govern competently. Good governance is a political choice, it persuades people that we have their best interests at heart and it inspires confidence, particularly among those who don’t already support independence.”
Meanwhile, Mr Yousaf suggested he is the “only candidate” who will stand up to Westminster.
Scotland’s Health Secretary added: “The way we get independence is to ensure we build popular support. Consistent majority support for independence will mean those political laws that are put up by Westminster will be overcome.
“Under my leadership every single election we fight will be fought on the issue of independence including the next general election.”
Elsewhere during the debate, Ms Regan said the SNP “has lost its way” in a swipe at Nicola Sturgeon.
She said: “There’s been no progress on independence in the last few years, despite the worst UK governments of all time.”
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