Nicola Sturgeon and SNP must stop comparing Ukraine war to independence, warns Scottish Nationalist MP

SNP candidate for Edinburgh South West Joanna Cherry retains her seat at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, for the UK Parliamentary General Election.
SNP candidate for Edinburgh South West Joanna Cherry retains her seat at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, for the UK Parliamentary General Election.

Joanna Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West, said it was "crass" to compare the war in Ukraine to Scottish independence

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SNP MP Joanna Cherry has urged members of her party to stop comparing the war between Russia and Ukraine with the Scottish independence movement.

This follows comments from Nicola Sturgeon suggesting Vladimir Putin's invasion strengthens the case for a new independence vote (often referred to as IndyRef2).

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon on her way to First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon on her way to First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

Ms Cherry issued a warning that attempting to "draw parallels" between the war in Ukraine and Scottish independence "comes over as crass and insensitive".

She made her comments in The National - a pro-independence newspaper - and came less than 24 hours after the Scottish First Minister suggested that the war in Ukraine "underscored the need for democratic nations to pursue our domestic politics with as much passion and vigour as ever".

Joanna Cherry QC MP during a Brexit Q&A event at the 2019 SNP autumn conference at the Event Complex Aberdeen.
Joanna Cherry QC MP during a Brexit Q&A event at the 2019 SNP autumn conference at the Event Complex Aberdeen.

Nicola Sturgeon, seemingly referencing another campaign, said the war "makes it even more important to engage as passionately and disputatiously as ever in vigorous political debate within and among the world's democracies".

In spite of several experts warning that the fracturing of the UK would be welcomed by Russia, Ms Sturgeon said Scotland would constitute a "reliable and dedicated international partner" in tackling Putin's Kremlin.

Ms Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West, asked "SNP colleagues and indeed the wider independence movement" to hold back from "trying to draw parallels between the debate about Scottish independence and the war in Ukraine".

She said: "It comes over as crass and insensitive and it takes us nowhere," she wrote. "Scotland is in a consensual union with England. When we last got the chance to say whether we wanted to leave that union, the answer was no.

"Ukraine has been invaded and its people subjected to war crimes. In the light of these facts there can be no comparison, meaningful or otherwise."

A spokesman for the First Minister insisted it was a "flat out lie" that Nicola Sturgeon had tried to link the independence movement and the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, in a piece in the New Statesman on the Russian invasion, Brexit and her domestic policy.

Despite this, Scottish Conservatives have called on Nicola Sturgeon to apologise.

Ms Cherry also noted her scepticism that IndyRef2 would take place next year. The First Minister has promised her supporters the vote would take place in 2023.

She said: "We cannot guarantee that the case for independence will survive the full glare of a second campaign proper if it is not refreshed to take account of the changed circumstances in which we find ourselves.

"To be brutally frank, the independence debate has stalled. It will continue that way until those in a leadership position inject some life into it."