Leaked documents show SNP sacrificing domestic agenda for independence

This morning’s papers report that previously secret documents have been leaked which show that the Scottish Government are pushing ahead with their bid for a second independence referendum despite it undermining their domestic policies.

In a note from Leslie Evans, Scotland’s most senior official, to Nicola Sturgeon and two other senior ministers, she said that putting the constitution front-and-centre would involve the “deprioritisation of activity” in other areas.

According to the Times, publication of this document was forced by the Scottish Information Commissioner following a campaign by the Scottish Conservatives which lasted more than a year.

This follows a string of domestic setbacks for the Scottish Nationalists, most recently the final abandonment of their controversial ‘Named Person’ plan. This would have appointed a named, non-related individual to monitor the welfare of every individual resident of Scotland, and had been branded by opponents and an extraordinary incursion by the state into family life.

Corbyn savaged for backing judge-murdering IRA during Commons row

The Democratic Unionist Party have attacked Jeremy Corbyn for his historic support for the IRA, undercutting the Labour leader’s efforts to criticise Boris Johnson’s response to Tuesday’s Supreme Court judgment against his prorogation.

During last night’s heated debate in the House of Commons Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s deputy leader and leader of its Westminster cohort, said:

“There will be many people, not least the families of senior judges who were murdered in Northern Ireland, many of them, including the Lord Justice of Appeal, who will wish that the Leader of the Opposition when he supported a terrorist organisation that murdered judges, had really put those words into action much, much ­earlier in his career. We talk about respect for the rule of law, it should have been respect for the rule of law through the decades of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.”

Corbyn took part in a ceremony honouring IRA terrorists who had been killed by the SAS only weeks after a roadside bomb planted by the group killed Lord Justice Gibson and his wife in 1987.

Fresh warnings the threat of republican – and loyalist – violence

Lady Sylvia Hermon, the Independent Unionist MP for North Down, has warned again that a No Deal Brexit risks a violent backlash from republican groups in Northern Ireland, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

However, in a sign that the need for consent from both communities is finally starting to be understood, she also warned the House of Commons that an anti-EU backlash by pro-UK loyalists was also a serious concern.

This follows a very interesting article by Naomi O’Leary for Politico in which she spoke to loyalists and explored the possibility of paramilitaries restarting their own armed campaign. The site has an honourable record of offering the Dublin/Brussels line on Northern Ireland more sceptical treatment than it usually receives – former staffer Tom McTague continues to do so from his new berth at the Atlantic.

In another development which will do nothing to cool tensions, Unionist politicians have demanded that Dublin apologise for refusing to extradite another IRA terrorist. The News Letter reports that “Fr Patrick Ryan appeared in a BBC Spotlight discussing how he travelled around the world raising money for the IRA and procuring munitions.”

The paper adds the important fact that Dublin refused no less than 93 per cent of extradition requests from Britain between 1973 and 1997. This was a source of immense ill-feeling on the part of the British, who had expected more support in getting their hands on republican terror suspects as part of the settlement around the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.