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SNP MP Margaret Ferrier asks about second referendum

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An SNP MP has questioned the UK government about how it would respond to the Scottish Parliament calling for a second independence referendum after next year's Holyrood election.

Margaret Ferrier, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, submitted two written questions on the issue to Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

Mr Mundell is yet to respond.

Scottish voters rejected independence by 55% to 45% in last September's referendum.

In her questions, Ms Ferrier asked Mr Mundell about the "implications for his policy on a further referendum on Scottish independence of the Scottish Parliament election in 2016 delivering a majority for political parties committed to the holding of such a referendum".

The MP also asked "what contingency plans his department has prepared for the possibility of a further referendum on Scottish independence being the policy of the Scottish government after the Scottish Parliament election in 2016".

After the SNP won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland in May's general election, party leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed there was "'no second Scottish independence referendum on the immediate horizon".

'Mandate for independence'

The party has already said another vote on the future of the UK could only be held if the it won another Holyrood election after pledging to hold a referendum in its election manifesto.

George Kerevan, another of the SNP MPs elected in May, has previously said he expects the party's conference in October "to fizz with the question of putting a mandate for independence into the 2016 manifesto".

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: "Instead of endlessly agitating for independence, the SNP MPs should do the job their constituents sent them to Westminster to carry out.

"The SNP is going to have to accept that, less than a year ago, the Scottish people spoke decisively on this matter.

"Of course many ardent Yes supporters want another referendum - they'd hold one every day until they got the outcome they wanted.

"But people invested a lot of time and energy in last year's vote, and they don't want to be put through another two-year campaign on this matter."

An SNP spokeswoman said: "The timing of any future referendum is entirely a matter for the people of Scotland to decide - the people, not politicians, are in charge at every stage of the process.

"The first minister has made clear we are not planning another referendum, but equally has made it clear that it is not in the gift of any politician and party to rule it out indefinitely."

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