Blow for Sturgeon as Scots call for Indyref2 talks to be called off: End of Nicola

SNP MP on how Ukraine crisis shows need for independence

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After winning a majority in the Holyrood elections in May 2021, the First Minister vowed to hold an independence referendum after the coronavirus pandemic is over. In February, Ms Sturgeon shared preparatory work had begun to hold a fresh ballot on independence.

A poll now shows however that Scots want any talks on another referendum on Scottish independence to be stopped during the Ukraine war.

The Savanta ComRes poll interviewed 1,008 Scottish adults aged 16 or over between March 10 and 16, and asked those polled whether they believe discussions over when a second independence referendum should take place should stop due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In total, 59 percent of Scots said they should, compared to 29 percent stating they believed the discussions should continue.

Those calling for discussions to stop include 43 percent of SNP voters, with 47 percent stating they should continue.

In addition, 42 percent of 2014 Yes voters also called for talks to be postponed.

Some 34 percent surveyed, who would vote Yes in another independence referendum, also agreed talks should be stopped for the time being.

However, the majority of prospective Yes voters, 57 percent, wanted discussions to continue.

In addition, the poll, for The Scotsman, asked Scots whether the cost-of-living crisis would justify stopping discussions around another independence referendum.

A majority, 52 percent, still believed this was enough to stop the discussions, but 38 percent said discussions should continue.

In total, 30 percent of 2014 Yes voters, 19 percent of prospective indyref2 Yes voters, and 29 percent of SNP voters said this was a legitimate reason to stop discussions about another vote.

Joyce McMillan, writing for the Scotsman, said Ms Sturgeon’s time as First Minister “may be coming to an end with Ukraine and cost-of-living crises”.

Reacting to a Savanta ComRes poll, she noted three factors: “the undeniable impact of the Ukraine crisis on the fortunes of Boris Johnson”; the Covid pandemic, and continued support for independence.

Ms McMillan then added Ms Sturgeon is “caught for now in a painful double bind”, where she is “unable to delay a referendum campaign for much longer without alienating” voters and is “yet unable to campaign actively for independence without a high risk of alienating the very undecided and fearful voters”.

She added: “My own feeling, for what it is worth, is that the extent of the current global crisis, coming on top of the pandemic, means that the forces which could lead to a successful Scottish independence referendum for the SNP are simply not aligned at the moment, and may not be for another half-decade.

“The sheer inability to obtain from the present UK government an agreed referendum in 2023, with the same level of recognition as in 2014, may effectively end Nicola Sturgeon’s career as First Minister at that point, since she will probably feel she has given the project her best shot, and has not been able to deliver under current circumstances.”

It comes after Ian Blackford hinted at a delay for the SNP’s plans to hold an independence referendum due to the Ukraine invasion earlier in March.

On March 9, the SNP’s Westminster leader said: “We have got to be respectful of the responsibilities that we have in the short term, but I’m also respectful to the principle that we have a mandate for an independence referendum.

“I want that referendum to take place in a timely manner. I want us to be able to execute the mandate that we have.

“To those that are expressing a desire for us to get on with our job, of course, we will do so, but we have to be mindful of where we are.”

The Savanta ComRes poll also found support for independence has declined very slightly since January.

It found 48 percent supported Scotland’s independence, compared with 52 percent against.

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