Nicola Sturgeon launches fresh drive for Scottish independence

(STIRLING, SCOTLAND) The Scottish National Party is to send out thousands of its faithful to measure the appetite for independence, leader Nicola Sturgeon announced on Friday, raising the political stakes further as Britain decides how it will leave the European Union.

Alongside the party's new drive for independence, the SNP administration is already drawing up legislation for a fresh ballot.

Labour needs to do more than offer soundbites to oppose austerity, Mr Smith said, adding his plans for a "British new deal" investment programme would provide a £200 billion boost for the United Kingdom, including £20 billion for Scotland.

The bill would then be ready for "immediate" introduction if it becomes clear that there was voter support for Scottish independence, Sturgeon said, without giving a timeframe.

"But her [Nicola Sturgeon] own words are extremely nuanced, described the many different reasons why women do not have children, all of which, as she says, should be free of judgements and assumptions".

She warned this would cause deep, permanent damage to the economy and told Theresa May: "As First Minister, I am not prepared to stand by and watch that happen without a battle".

While much of Scotland voted to remain in the European Union, leave voters won the EU referendum in June, bolstering Sturgeon's calls for another vote on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon claimed ner campaign would be a new debate and not just a rerun of the ideas discussed ahead of the 2014 poll that saw Scots vote by 55% to 45% in favour of remaining part of the UK. The commission will examine the prospects for Scotland's finances as an independent country, and consider policies to both boost growth and reduce the deficit to a sustainable level.

Victory in a second independence referendum would be the only way of possibly retaining membership as an independent member state.

We want to know the concerns that people have and the questions they want answered.

This prompted Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson to urge Sturgeon to focus on "real and present problems" like the shortfall in GP recruitment, while Labour's Kezia Dugdale accused the Scottish National Party government of failing to use existing devolved powers to the full to prevent Westminster cuts being passed on to the Scottish people.

He stated: " We've got a set of problems in Scotland, the underfunding of the NHS, a crisis in GP provision, the educational attainment gap growing, she (Ms Sturgeon) should be in my view getting on with those bread and butter issues rather than worrying about another independence referendum. It is utterly unjustified and unnecessary.

James Kelly MSP said: "The SNP Government make lots of big promises but have failed to deliver - services in our NHS are under threat, our police force are facing huge cuts and the gap between the richest and the rest in our schools remains as stubborn as ever". "I don't think there is going to be a referendum until the first minster thinks she can win".

"It will be a plan based on success and inclusion that will be delivered by a government acting in the best interests of all of Scotland - a government for everyone who lives here".

Davidson said: "This is a chance for Nicola Sturgeon to show the country she is serious about being a First Minister for all".

Nicola Sturgeon miscarried a baby in 2011, months before the Scottish Parliament elections.

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