COVID-19 overshadows independence in key Scottish election

EYEMOUTH, Scotland (AP) — Scotland holds an election Thursday that could hasten the breakup of the United Kingdom. The pro-independence Scottish National Party is leading in the polls and a big victory will give it the the moral right and the political momentum to hold a referendum on whether Scotland should end its three-century union with England. But many voters, even if they support independence, are cautious. Britain’s exit from the European Union and the coronavirus pandemic have caused economic upheaval, and some argue it’s not the right time to gamble on independence. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has downplayed independence in her campaign, stressing her credentials as a safe pair of hands to lead Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.