Sturgeon says independence campaign will remain ‘broad church’

The First Minister dismissed a question on whether she would share a platform with Alex Salmond.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Russell Cheyne/PA)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Russell Cheyne/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has said the campaign for Scottish independence will remain “broad church”, as she dismissed a question over whether she would share a platform with Alex Salmond.

The First Minister said the issue of her predecessor was “one of the least important questions of the entire independence debate”.

On Tuesday, she and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie released the first in a series of papers which will form the Scottish Government’s updated prospectus for independence.

Taking questions from journalists, the First Minister was asked if she would like to see a “broad church” Yes campaign as there was in the 2014 independence referendum and if she would share a platform with Alex Salmond.

Alex Salmond now leads the Alba Party (Jane Barlow/PA)

Addressing the point about Mr Salmond, she said: “That latter one probably qualifies as one of the least important questions of the entire independence debate.

“It’s not about me, it’s not about Alex Salmond, with the greatest of respect it’s not even about Patrick Harvie.

“It’s about the future of Scotland and I’m going to continue to focus on the issues that matter to people across Scotland.”

The SNP leader continued: “The campaign for independence is broad church and will be broad church.

“Actually, that is one of its great strengths, because independence fundamentally is about democracy.

“And in any democracy you have a difference of opinion and people decide what path they want to take.

“So that’s a strength and not in any way a weakness.”

Mr Salmond now leads the Alba Party, which has two Scottish MPs who were originally elected under SNP banners.

However, Alba has failed to win any MSPs or councillors in elections so far.

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