THE Scottish Government remains “willing to engage” with Westminster to establish a route to indyref2, the Constitution Secretary said ahead of a debate on independence.

This afternoon, the Scottish Government has scheduled a debate titled “People’s Right to Choose – Respecting Scotland’s Democratic Mandate”.

The Scottish Greens have said powers brought through independence would allow Scotland to deliver the “green, fairer society” that it needs.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross branded the move as “bonkers” and accused the Scottish Government of “criminal” neglect of other issues during his New Year’s speech.

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Ahead of the debate, which comes on the same day as ministerial statements on a draft Energy Strategy and the NHS crisis, Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said the Scottish Government remains “willing to engage” with Westminster to allow Scots a choice over their future.

Roberston added that two years on from leaving the European Union, the impact of Brexit is still being felt in Scottish communities and said it is “harming everyone”.

He added: “We will soon have to deal with the implication of the Retained EU Law Bill which, despite the Scottish Parliament voting to withhold legislative consent, could jeopardise our strong employment, environment and agriculture laws.

“This further demonstrates the long-lasting and damaging implications facing Scotland as a result of choices made by the UK Government as part of the current ‘voluntary Union’ and makes the case for Scotland to have a clear choice on its own future.”

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Robertson, alluding to Ross’s (above) comments, pointed out that the constitutional debate is “not separate” from the issues – the cost of living crisis, the economy, and pressures on public services – facing households across Scotland.

He added: “That is why work is continuing on the Building a New Scotland prospectus series which prioritises building a fairer, wealthier and greener Scotland within the EU, far removed from the current economic turmoil of the United Kingdom.

“People in Scotland have voted repeatedly in recent elections for a choice over their future. The UK Government should recognise and respect those democratic outcomes – just as they did in 2011 – and work with us to deliver on the mandate in the Scottish Parliament for a vote on independence.”

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Greens MSP Ross Greer said those best placed to make the decisions for Scotland are “the people who live here”, pointing to the progress being made with the “limited powers of devolution” while Tory prime ministers crash the economy, cut Universal Credit and forge ahead with Brexit despite Scotland voting Remain.

He said: “Independence would allow us to remove the UK’s nuclear weapons from our shores, rejoin the European Union, raise the minimum wage to a level that people can actually live on and so, so much more.

“The reason that Rishi Sunak and his colleagues are so opposed to Scotland having a choice is because they know that the future of cuts and chaos which they are offering is the opposite of what most people here actually want.

“They are terrified of having the debate because they have nothing positive to say about Scotland staying in an increasingly dysfunctional UK.”