Lord Steel not expecting 2nd indyref soon

Lord Steel. Picture; June Barlow
Lord Steel. Picture; June Barlow
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A SECOND Scottish independence referendum will not take place in the near future, former Liberal leader Lord Steel has predicted.

The veteran politician said that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was still “cautious” about a second ballot on the Union, despite the result of the European referendum.

While nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of Scots opted to remain part of the European Union (EU), the UK as a whole voted to leave, with this result prompting the SNP leader to claim another vote on independence is “highly likely”.

Lord Steel, who was the first presiding officer in the devolved Scottish Parliament, described Ms Sturgeon as a “considerable politician”.

He told an audience at an Edinburgh University event held as part of the Fringe: “I don’t always agree with what she says and she’s being quite cautious about this second referendum.

“She says it’s ‘highly likely’. Highly likely when? And highly likely how? Just highly likely.

“It’s not going to happen, I think, in the near future.”

Lord Steel, who spent 32 years as an MP and was Liberal leader for 12 years, said that former prime minister David Cameron had “made a great mistake” by having a referendum on the EU.

“He will be remembered probably as the man who messed up on Europe,” he said.