Nicola Sturgeon: Push for indyref2 now a ‘Scottish democracy movement’

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to outline her government’s “route map” to a legal referendum on Tuesday afternoon in front of MSPs, two weeks after launching a renewed push for independence.

Speaking today, the SNP leader accused the UK Government and the Labour party of “taking a wrecking ball” to the concept of the United Kingdom as a union of consent.

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Her statement could pave the way for a consultative vote on the question of independence next year or an attempt to legislate for a repeat of 2014.

Both could lead to legal challenge by the UK Government.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Westminster is taking a wrecking ball to the idea of the United Kingdom as a voluntary partnership of nations.

“A Tory Government with just six MPs from Scotland, supported on this issue by Labour, is seeking to deny the democratic right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future.

“In doing so they are demonstrating beyond doubt that in place of a voluntary partnership they believe the UK is instead defined by Westminster control.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the case for a referendum is no a “Scottish democracy movement”

A section 30 order, a clause in the Scotland Act which would grant a legal referendum, was the basis for the 2014 referendum and was labelled a ‘gold standard’ vote.

However, the UK Government has repeatedly rejected requests for one, with Ms Sturgeon now poised to outline her route to a vote without such a deal with Westminster.

Boris Johnson maintains that “now is not the time” for a referendum, despite the SNP’s success at the 2021 Holyrood election and the overall mandate for a vote once Scottish Green MSPs are taken into account.

The First Minister said it was now time for Westminster leaders to “respect, not rubbish” the wishes of Scots and that independence would “restore basic democracy in Scotland”.

She said: “The case for a referendum is therefore now as much a Scottish democracy movement as a Scottish independence movement.

“Even previous Tory leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May said they believed the UK was based on the consent of the people who lived in its constituent nations.

“It is time for Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer to respect, not rubbish, the wishes of the people of Scotland and their democratically elected government – and to respect the pledge their parties signed after the 2014 referendum promising that nothing prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose.”

The Scottish Conservative constitution spokesperson, Donald Cameron, said it was “astonishing” the SNP want to talk about independence with the Ukraine war, the cost-of-living crisis, and the recovery from Covid.

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon is continuing to ignore the fact that the people of Scotland do not want another independence referendum.

“Rather than dealing with the pressing issues that actually matter to ordinary Scots, the SNP want to recklessly break up UK.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Now is not the time to be talking about another referendum. People across Scotland rightly want and expect to see both of their governments working together with a relentless focus on the issues that matter to them, their families and communities.“That means tackling the cost of living, protecting our long-term energy security, leading the international response against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing our economy so that everyone has access to the opportunities, skills and jobs for the future.”

Want to hear more from The Scotsman’s politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

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