Nicola Sturgeon squirms over independence referendum timeline
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Scotland’s First Minister believes she has found a clever legal loophole to hold a Scottish independence referendum without being given the go-ahead from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Constitutional matters are reserved for Westminster, meaning a new referendum would not be legal without consent from Downing Street and any such move would likely be challenged in the courts. But Nicola Sturgeon could now reportedly be considering making the referendum advisory in a desperate attempt to swerve any legal issues. She could make an announcement to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
Instead of asking Scots if they want a split from the rest of the UK, the question would instead ask if independence negotiations should be allowed to go ahead.
Results from this vote would not be binding but would instead be presented as a ballot to gauge support for independence. But any win for the SNP leader would pile huge pressure on Mr Johnson to cave and grant permission for a full-blown vote.
Maurice Golden, who sits on the Constitutional Committee and is the Scottish Conservative MSP for North East Scotland, has completely torn apart the plot.
He told Express.co.uk: There will be no independence referendum in 2023 without a Section 30 Order granted from the UK Government. Boris Johnson has made it categorically clear it will not be granted at this time.
“Nicola Sturgeon has now devised a pretend referendum that would make Scotland the laughing stock of the civilised world.
“She is making a statement to parliament on Tuesday but it appears she will launch some form of consultative opinion poll, which we will not participate in as it is not a legal referendum.
“So this ‘wildcat’ opinion poll will eventually be voted on by Nationalists and therefore even as an opinion poll, it’s totally worthless.”
Mr Golden added: “Angus Robertson has mentioned October 2023 as the date for a second referendum, but it would be a distraction from the failures of the Scottish parliament.
“Support for independence is down at 45 percent but more importantly, less than one in three Scots want a referendum of any kind next year.
“In the context of the cost of living and energy crisis, the fact the trains don’t run and the ferries don’t float, to proceed with a worthless piece of opinion forming question, it seems absolutely outrageous.”
Ms Sturgeon has continued to claim there is a mandate for IndyRef2 after most Members of the Scottish Parliament were elected on pro-separatist policies during the Scottish election in May 2021.
She had insisted she would postpone plans to hold a vote while Scotland is still reeling from the impact of Covid, but has pressed on with planning to hold the crunch ballot by the end of 2023.
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Tens of millions of people in the UK have been savagely gripped by the cost of living crisis, while this week inflation edged up to 9.1 percent – with prices rising at their fastest rate in 40 years.
But despite this, last week the Scottish Government published the first in a series of documents set to outline the case for independence.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The people of Scotland have secured a cast-iron democratic mandate to decide their own future — and neither Boris Johnson nor any other UK prime minister has the right to block that mandate.
“I am determined to deliver the legal, constitutional referendum the people of Scotland have voted for.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said earlier this month: “We are confident that the people of Scotland want and expect their governments to be working together to focus on issues like the global cost of living challenges, like the war in Europe and the issues that matter to their families and their communities.”
He added: “The position on the referendum remains unchanged. It’s not something the Prime Minister believes the public want either government to be focused on at a time when there are other challenges facing them right now
“First and foremost we want to continue to work with the Scottish government on those issues that are affecting the public right now.”
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