Baroness Goldie: Former Scottish Tory leader in dig at Nicola Sturgeon over new independence referendum

Conservative peer claims ‘a bad hair day’ is all it would take for First Minister to trigger another vote

Nick Lester
Wednesday 18 May 2016 22:47 BST

Nicola Sturgeon having “a bad hair day or a heel falling off” is enough to trigger another independence referendum, according to Tory former Scottish leader Baroness Goldie.

The Conservative peer made the dig at the SNP leader as she said many wounds caused during the divisive 2014 campaign In Scotland “are as yet unhealed”, and warned of the “cloud” posed by the upcoming vote on Britain's membership of the EU.

Lady Goldie stressed whatever the outcome of the 23 June referendum there would need to be “a healing of wounds, a closing of divisions and a reconciliation of views”.

Voters would not want politicians to “eat lumps out of one another” but to “get on with the important business of running the country”, she said.

Lady Goldie was speaking as she seconded a humble address to the Queen to mark Her Majesty's speech to both Houses at the State Opening of Parliament.

The Lord's debate on the Queen's Speech had been started by Tory former cabinet minister Lord King, who told peers the EU referendum was “the greatest challenge we now face immediately”.

While he backed remaining part of the 28-member bloc, he argued the UK “should immediately employ what I believe will be a very large Brexit vote to play a leading role in promoting the much more fundamental reforms that are clearly needed in the EU”.

Lady Goldie, pointing to the Government proposals set out in the Queen's Speech, said: “There is a cloud hanging over all of this - the European referendum.

”I can say with some experience that referendum campaigns have three certainties - division, distraction and a result.“

She said the independence campaign was ”divisive at times corrosively so“, splitting families and communities.

Lady Goldie said: ”Many of these wounds are as yet unhealed.“

While voters in Scotland rejected independence, the SNP ”has not respected that result“, said the peer.

She added: ”According to Nicola Sturgeon, one thing after another can be a trigger for another referendum from a UK Brexit decision to presumably a bad hair day or a heel falling off one of her stilettos.“

The EU referendum campaign was also divisive, distracting and at times ”odiously unprepossessing“, but there would be a result, she said.

”And after that result, whatever it is, there will need to be a healing of wounds, a closing of divisions and a reconciliation of views.

“The peoples of the United Kingdom will look to their politicians not to eat lumps out of one another but to regroup, refocus and with, with amity, get on with the important business of running the country and delivering the excellent proposals contained within this Queen's Speech.”

Shadow Lords leader Baroness Smith of Basildon also highlighted the EU referendum in her speech.

She said: “If the country votes to leave the EU, it will have enormous and probably immediate consequences that will have to be dealt with.

”So, it would be helpful to understand whether there is a Plan B? Or is this Queen's Speech the 'Carry on Regardless' version?“

Responding for the Liberal Democrats, Lord Wallace argued the EU had been the ”world's most successful peace project“.

”Our generation has enjoyed that peace, surely we must bequeath that to future generations,“ he added.


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