Church of Scotland accused of 'Nationalist opinions' over independence referendum

The Church of Scotland is being accused of 'Nationalist opinions' after a senior Kirk spokesman called on Theresa May to allow an independence vote.

Murdo Fraser, a Tory MSP and member of the Presbyterian Church, said it was 'inexplicable' the body should intervene and call for a second poll 'given the bitterness and division caused in Scottish society by the last referendum'.

The Church of Scotland backed the Remain side in the European Referendum.Church of Scotland

It comes after Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church's church and society council, said it would be 'wrong' for the Prime Minister to block an independence vote.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer is Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland.Church of Scotland

The minister insisted the Church was neutral on the issue but stressed its support of Scotland's ongoing membership of the European Union, which Sturgeon has said would continue if they split from the UK. There is 'nothing inevitable' about another independence debate being 'divisive and acrimonious', he said.

But the Conservative MSP retorted the views were 'another example' of the Kirk's elite going against their membership.

'Rev Frazer is quite entitled to express Nationalist opinions on his own behalf, but in this case he is speaking in behalf of the whole Church of Scotland,' he said.

'When did the Church decide it was going to support the SNP position over a referendum? Was there a vote in the General Assembly? Were ordinary Kirk members like me ever consulted?

'Or is this another example of an out-of-elite at the top of the Kirk going their own way with no thought for the views of the membership?

'When we see political stances like this taken by the Kirk leadership, it is perhaps no surprise that its membership figures are in free fall, when many other Churches are seeing growth.'

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