New Times,
New Thinking.

Mhairi Black: “I have no doubt that Scotland will become independent in my lifetime”

The SNP deputy leader in Westminster spoke at a New Statesman event about Kate Forbes, gay rights and what life for her party will look like after independence.

By Harry Clarke-Ezzidio

Mhairi Black, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, has said that she has “no doubt whatsoever” that Scotland will become independent in her lifetime, despite major rifts within her party about who should replace the outgoing First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and how to best achieve Scottish independence.

Black, who was speaking at the New Statesman Future Generations conference on 14 March, also said that Kate Forbes, Scotland’s Finance Minister and one of the front-runners in the SNP leadership contest, had to prove herself when it came to gay rights. Forbes, a member of the evangelical Free Church of Scotland, has said that because of her faith she is personally opposed to gay marriage and having sex, or children, outside of marriage. When asked if LGBT+ MPs would struggle to work under Forbes, Black, who is married to a woman, replied: “She’s definitely got work to do. No doubt about that.” 

The 28-year-old MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South also said that Forbes was “disingenuous” in her recent criticism of SNP leadership rivals. Forbes said in a debate earlier this month that a vote for her rivals, the Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and the community safety minister Ash Regan, would mean the Scottish people would receive “more of the same” from its government, and would be an “acceptance of mediocrity”. Black told the NS event that while she acknowledged “room for improvement”, Forbes’s criticism of Sturgeon’s legacy was “slightly disingenuous, especially when you’ve been part of that government, and it’s been delivering things”.

[See also: Does Labour have a future in Scotland?]

The dominant talking point of of the SNP leadership contest has been how best to achieve independence. Forbes and Ben Macpherson, the SNP minister for social security, have both advocated for a cautious, gradualist approach to avoid failure. “The frustration’s there, because I believe in independence,” Black said. “Because I think it will give Scotland the powers and tools it needs to be able to create policy that actually represents what’s best for Scotland.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Black slammed the “horrible, horrible pieces of legislation” that the Conservative government has tried to push through, including the recent “stop the boats” migration bill. “Knowing that nobody in Scotland wanted this government, I get very frustrated,” she said.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that Scotland will become independent in my lifetime,” she added, but warned that the SNP needs to consider how it would maintain its electoral appeal should it achieve its primary goal. “The political parties that have the most to gain from independence are Labour and the Tories,” she said.

“I’ve always said the day after independence, my vote’s up for grabs, because to me, that’s the way that democracy should be,” said Black. Scottish voters will want more from their politicians in a post-independent Scotland, she argued. People will ask themselves, Black believes, “who’s going to earn my trust? Rather than just constantly having to vote for the least worst option.”

Read more:

Scotland needs its own Rishi Sunak

After Nicola Sturgeon’s departure, Scottish Labour can win big

The SNP seems to think it can’t lose Scotland – but it can

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy