Sturgeon says it’s right that Scotland should ‘decide future’
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Nicola Sturgeon has called for a fresh vote on Scottish independence by the end of 2023 when the coronavirus pandemic is over, but the UK Government remains opposed to a second referendum. And senior unionists are reportedly “increasingly confident” they would win any legal battle if it ends up in the courts.
The Times pointed to legal advice taken by Whitehall before the first referendum in 2014.
It is still believed that because powers over the constitution are reserved to Westminster, any move to hold a referendum authorised only by Holyrood would be unlawful.
The newspaper also highlighted a string of legal defeats the Scottish Government has been dealt.
A senior Tory source said “it could well be another blow to their legal credibility”.
It comes as the First Minister will today ask the UK Government to agree to another Scottish independence referendum “in the spirit of co-operation”.
In the closing speech of the SNP conference, Ms Sturgeon is expected to say: “My approach to government and to politics will be, as far as possible, co-operation not confrontation.
“The experience of the pandemic and the challenges we face as a result reinforces my view that this is the right approach.
“So it is in that spirit of co-operation that I hope the Scottish and UK governments can reach agreement – as we did in 2014 – to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected.
“But, this much is clear: democracy must – and will – prevail.”
She will add: “The United Kingdom is after all a voluntary union of nations.
“Until recently no one seriously challenged the right of the people in Scotland to choose whether or not they wished to become independent.
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“Frankly it is not up to a Westminster government which has just six MPs in Scotland to decide our future without the consent of the people who live here.
“As an independent country, co-operation between Scotland and our friends across the rest of the UK will continue, but it will be on a better basis: Scotland will be an equal partner.”
During an interview with Sky News on Sunday, it was suggested to Ms Sturgeon that rather than being concerned about the Covid pandemic, she was waiting until it was politically advantageous to hold a second independence referendum.
But she insisted that any politician would “factor those kind of judgments into those decisions”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I am very confident that when this question is next to put people in Scotland will vote yes.”
She added: “My primary consideration is to do what’s right for the country, when is it right.”
The SNP conference also backed the Scottish Government plans for the timing of another independence referendum at the “earliest” possible moment after the coronavirus crisis.
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