Scotland Election 2016

Holyrood 2016: Solidarity calls for new independence referendum

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionSolidarity publish Holyrood election manifesto

Solidarity has launched its manifesto for the Holyrood election with a call for a second independence referendum to be held within the next two years.

The socialist party, which is headed by Tommy Sheridan, is fielding 40 candidates across the eight regional lists.

Solidarity said its MSPs would organise "coordinated resistance to further Tory austerity cuts".

It also wants to ban fracking and nuclear weapons from Scotland.

And its manifesto calls for the Council Tax to be replaced with a Scottish Service Tax, which would be based on earnings and see the wealthiest people pay a higher rate than those on lower incomes.

Mr Sheridan was a Scottish Socialist Party MSP between 1999 and 2007, but was jailed for perjury in 2011 after being convicted of telling lies during his defamation case against the News of the World newspaper.

He launched the manifesto at an event in Glasgow alongside his wife Gail, who is also standing as a Solidarity candidate in the election on 5 May.

Image copyright Huw Evans picture agency
Image caption The manifesto launch opened with music from Solidarity candidate Kevin Gore

The document commits Solidarity to tabling a bill at Holyrood within three months of the election that would lead to a second independence referendum in 2018.

'Win in 2018'

Solidarity believes the people of Scotland were "subjected to a tsunami of lies, bullying, distortions and dangerously biased media reporting" during the 2014 referendum campaign.

Mr Sheridan said: "We are supremely confident that the people of Scotland realise they were lied to, bullied and conned.

"People realise the British establishment used everything in its power to lie and bully the ordinary people of Scotland and it had an effect, particularly on the pensioner community, who had people phoning them telling them 'if you vote Yes you're going to lose your pension'.

"Despicable lies from the unionist parties. Those unionist parties deserve to be punished at the election for the lies they told. We will win in 2018."

Among Solidarity's other policies are the creation of a publicly-owned pharmaceutical company, which the party says would be based on the Cuban model.

The manifesto states that Scotland "possesses the brains, research facilities and manufacturing capacity to build our own public pharmaceutical company to supply our public NHS at a fraction of the costs imposed by the multi-million big pharma corporations."

It also sets out plans for MSPs to face a Right of Recall if they "fundamentally renege on a promise given to the electorate prior to election".

The by-election would be triggered if 5% of the registered electorate signed an online petition.

Solidarity also wants people to vote to leave the EU in June's referendum, and for cannabis to be legalised, licensed and taxed.

And it wants the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act and the Named Person scheme to be scrapped.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites