Nicola Sturgeon has today confirmed that dividing our nation is more important to her than transforming our vital public services.

The First Minister used her opening speech at the SNP conference in Glasgow to announce plans to publish a consultation on a draft independence referendum bill next week. In contrast, Scottish Labour has put forward an alternative programme for government that includes bills on education, health and poverty.

In 2014, Ms Sturgeon promised that the independence referendum result would stand for a ‘generation’. She should keep that promise. Scottish Labour MSPs will vote against a second referendum bill.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“This confirms that the SNP’s priority is not education, or healthcare, or tackling poverty.

Nicola Sturgeon’s top priority is to divide our nation once again. But our country is already divided following the Tories’ reckless Brexit gamble and we should not be seeking further divisions.

Our economy is in trouble, and the last thing we need is the uncertainty of another independence referendum.

It is little over two years since more than 2million Scots voted to reject independence. Nicola Sturgeon promised us that she would respect that result and said the referendum would put the issue to bed for a ‘generation’.

She should keep that promise. Scottish Labour will vote against any referendum Bill that she brings before parliament.

In her speech to the SNP conference, Nicola Sturgeon had an opportunity to tell the country how she will face the challenges of the future. Instead, she resorted to an argument of the past.”