Scottish independence: SNP: Roadmap unveiled for second vote

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PREMIUM

The Prime Minister will be told to take legal action if he rejects a second independence referendum, the SNP has said.

A new plan for indyref2 has been unveiled by constitutional secretary Michael Russell, who says that there will be a referendum if Scotland votes for pro-independence parties at the Holyrood election in May.

“People in Scotland have the right to decide their future – not Boris Johnson,” he said. “The pandemic is the overriding priority at present but when that subsides the people of Scotland must have the right to decide how best to rebuild our country.

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“That right to choose will be central to our election campaign message.”

Last year, the Scottish Government was working on legislation to allow a second independence referendum. But the work was suspended as “a result of the need to deploy as many civil servants as possible to work on Scotland’s response to the pandemic”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in September that a draft bill would be published before the end of this Parliament, “setting out the proposed terms and timing of an independence referendum.”

Now, the roadmap says this bill would be enacted “if an SNP Scottish Government is re-elected with a majority to do so (either as a result of gaining an overall majority or if it had such a majority as a result of support from another pro-independence party)”.

Mr Russell said the vote should be held after the pandemic, and “at a time to be decided by the democratically elected Scottish Parliament”.

The MP said the SNP believes that should be “in the early part of the new term”.

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He added: “If the SNP is returned to office at the vital Scottish Parliamentary elections in May and there is a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, there can be no democratic or moral justification whatsoever to deny people in Scotland their democratic right to choose a better future.”

He promised that if Scotland “votes for a legal referendum on the 6th of May this year, that is what it will get”.

The party makes clear that even if Downing Street does not consent, they will hold a referendum anyway.

It will then be up to the UK Government to either “agree that the Scottish Parliament already has the power to legislate for a referendum” or “agree the Section 30” or “take legal action to dispute the legal basis of the referendum and seek to block the will of the Scottish people in the courts”.

His comments come ahead of the SNP National Assembly on Sunday, where Mr Russell will set out the proposal.

Depute SNP leader Keith Brown will convene the National Assembly for which around 1,000 SNP members have registered to attend.

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