Nicola Sturgeon accuses opponents of ‘running scared’ of indyref2 as First Minister ‘eyes legal wheeze’ to bypass Boris Johnson and hold new vote
- Nicola Sturgeon targeting new independence referendum in October next year
- SNP leader needs Section 30 order from London to be able to hold a fresh vote
- But it’s claimed First Minister could seek ‘legal wheeze’ to bypass Boris Johnson
Nicola Sturgeon has accused opponents of ‘running scared’ of a debate on Scotland’s future – as she was claimed to be eyeing a ‘legal wheeze’ in order to bypass Boris Johnson and hold a second independence referendum.
The Scottish First Minister this week set out what she called a ‘refreshed’ case for independence, as she targets a second referendum in October next year.
The SNP leader, as she kicked off a new campaign for another vote, pledged her Scottish Government would ‘forge a way forward’ if the Prime Minister refuses to grant Edinburgh the powers to hold a fresh referendum.
Ahead of the 2014 referendum, in which Scottish voters rejected independence by 55 per cent to 45 per cent, former PM David Cameron granted a section 30 order to Holyrood to allow the vote to be held.
But Mr Johnson has shown no indication he is willing to do the same and repeatedly told Ms Sturgeon that an independence vote should be a ‘once-in-a-generation’ event.
It has now been claimed that Ms Sturgeon is preparing to hold a consultative or advisory referendum, in order to bypass Mr Johnson and the UK Government.
According to the Sunday Times, this could involve a vote on a different question to the straight Yes/No choice in 2014, in a bid to avoid a legal challenge to another referendum.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week set out what she called a ‘refreshed’ case for independence
Boris Johnson has repeatedly told Ms Sturgeon that an independence vote should be a ‘once-in-a-generation’ event
Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish Government is targeting a second referendum in October next year – despite a possible legal challenge to another vote
Ciaran Martin, the UK Government’s former constitution director who helped to agree the framework for the 2014 vote, told the newspaper: ‘The talk in Edinburgh circles is of a clever legal wheeze where softer legislation is drafted.
‘Perhaps instead of a ‘referendum on independence’, the bill is instead about something like asking the people of Scotland for a mandate to open independence negotiations with the UK.
‘Something like this might stand a better chance in court, though experts are sceptical.’
In 2017, Spain’s Catalonia region held an independence referendum despite the vote being declared illegal by the Spanish government.
Catalan separatist leaders were later put on trial in Madrid on a series of charges.
As she launched her refreshed bid for a second independence referendum this week, Ms Sturgeon published a paper comparing Britain with other nations which she claimed are ‘wealthier, fairer and happier’ than the UK.
She has accused opposition parties of ‘running scared’ of the facts on independence and the UK’s ‘abysmal’ performance compared to other nations.
‘The Tories and Labour have completely failed to engage with that point because they know it is true and because they can see how threadbare the case for continued Westminster rule over Scotland has become,’ the First Minister said.
‘They simply have no answer, so instead of engaging in that debate they prefer to engage in the politics of deflection, talking about issues of process when on the issues of substance the sands are shifting beneath their feet.
‘No matter how hard the Westminster parties try and run away from the debate, they cannot dodge reality.
‘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.’
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.’