Nicola Sturgeon says SNP’s priority is ‘legal independence referendum’

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NICOLA Sturgeon has stressed the SNP’s priority in pursuing independence is to hold a “legal referendum” amid suggestions the party could hold a wildcat poll if Boris Johnson continues to refuse calls for a second vote on the issue.

The SNP has drawn up an 11-point plan for its roadmap to a second independence referendum, which will be presented to the party’s national assembly today.

The document states that if the SNP wins a majority at May’s Holyrood election, the Scottish Government will request a section 30 order from the UK Government for a referendum to be held and will introduce and pass legislation at Holyrood for a vote to take place after the pandemic.

The plan states that the UK Government can either agree Holyrood can hold a referendum, agree to the section 30 order as David Cameron did before the 2014 referendum or take legal action to dispute the basis for the event being held.

The document adds that “such a legal challenge would be vigorously opposed by an SNP Scottish Government”.

The debate heats up as polling by the Sunday Times found that a majority of people in Scotland and Northern Ireland now want referendums on their membership of it within the next five years and some 49 per cent of Scottish voters said they thought it likely Scotland would be independent within 10 years while only 30 per cent said it was unlikely.

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The First Minister was asked on the Andrew Marr Show if she would hold an advisory “home-made Scottish referendum”.

She said: “I want to have a legal referendum, that’s what I’m going to seek the authority of the Scottish people for in May.

“And if they give me that authority that’s what I intend to do.

“That’s democracy, it’s not about what I want or about what Boris Johnson wants, it’s about what the people of Scotland want and the increasing evidence is that they want independence.”

Ms Sturgeon added that the Prime Minister is “frightened of democracy” as he continues to refuse her consistent calls for a second independence referendum to be held. Mr Johnson said another vote should not be held for another 40 years.

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The First Minister added: “The polls now show that a majority of people in Scotland now want independence.

“If the SNP win the Scottish election in a few months’ time on the proposition of giving the Scottish people that choice then what democrat could rightly stand in the way of that?”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said a second vote on independence was “now the preffered option of the people of Scotland”.

He added: “What the proposals that we have set out do is define exactly how, on a legal basis, we can have a referendum on independence – that is the Government’s preferred option and that’s the strategy that we will pursue should be successful in securing a majority in favour of that proposition in the elections in May.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney

“What we’re interested in is having a legal basis of delivering independence. The only thing that could stand in the way of that is the undemocratic actions of a UK Government.

“If the people of Scotland vote in the Scottish parliamentary election in favour of a parliamentary majority that wants an independence referendum, to put that question to the people, that should happen.

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“There’s the democratic basis, there’s the wisdom of the argument, there’s the ability to look people straight in the eye and say there’s a justification for standing in the way of the democratic will of the people of Scotland.

“No Conservative prime minister, even back to Mrs Thatcher did anything other than acknowledge the democratic right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future.”

Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, has reitterated that a second independence vote should not take place.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “I don’t believe there should be another referendum – I am proud of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.

“The Scottish Conservatives are the strongest party right across the party to take that fight to the SNP.

“What I do want to highlight is that we shouldn’t be having this divisive argument about independence again when there’s so much we can and should be concentrating on right here in Scotland right now.”

When asked about the SNP-s 11-point routemap to independence, Mr Ross said: “Why don’t we have an 11-point plan to protect jobs in Scotland?

“Why don’t we have an 11-point plan to ensure businesses get the support they need?

“Why don’t we have an 11-point plan to rebuild our education system in Scotland?”

He added: “This is where the focus should be in Scotland right now, not fighting another independence referendum.”

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