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Nicole Sturgeon accused of wasting time announcing a new vote on Scotland’s departure from the UK
- SNP leader said she would go ahead with another vote on October 19, 2023
- Miss Sturgeon said Scotland had ‘paid a price’ to stay in the UK
- But in a significant climb down, she ruled out holding a wild referendum if the courts refused her consent
Nicola Sturgeon was accused last night of ‘indulgent waste of time’ when she announced plans for a second Scottish independence referendum next year.
The SNP leader said she would go ahead with another vote on October 19, 2023, despite not getting approval from the UK government.
Miss Sturgeon said Scotland had “paid a price” to stay in the UK and claimed that young people had been “deprived of opportunity”.
When she unveiled her latest plan to split the UK into the Scottish Parliament, she added: ‘Now is the time for independence.’
But in a significant climb down, she ruled out holding a wild referendum if the courts refused to grant her consent.
Under the terms of the Scottish Devolution Agreement, Miss Sturgeon needs the consent of the British government to hold a statutory referendum on independence.
Division: Nicola Sturgeon was charged last night with ‘indulgent waste of time’ when she announced plans for a second Scottish independence referendum next year
Downing Street has indicated that Boris Johnson will refuse permission to retake a vote held eight years ago.
Instead, Miss Sturgeon will now ask the Supreme Court to decide whether she can hold a ‘consultative’ referendum on the same question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’
She said: ‘If it happens there will be no lawful way for this parliament to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum… my party will be fighting the UK general election on this one issue. ‘
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross described Miss Sturgeon’s statement as “a melodramatic, self-indulgent, irresponsible waste of time” and vowed to boycott any vote. “We will not participate in a mock investigation if there is real work to be done,” he said.
Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said it was wrong to stir divisive constitutional issues while the country was still recovering from the pandemic.
He said ‘pandemic Nicola’ had been replaced by ‘partisan Nicola’ who ‘wants to divide our country… and pursue a referendum that two-thirds of Scots now don’t want’.
Johnson urged the Scottish Prime Minister to focus on the economy and the cost of living, saying the UK would have a ‘stronger country’ together.
A No10 spokesperson made it clear that the Prime Minister continues to believe that it is ‘not the time to talk about’ a second referendum, adding: ‘Our position remains unchanged that both our and the Scottish governments should be the priority to collaborate with a relentless focus on the issues we know matter to people across the country.”
The last referendum, in 2014, was won by the ‘No’ campaign by a margin of 55:45. At the time, the SNP said it was a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to take Scotland out of the UK.
Scotland’s top law official, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, will now bring the bill on the Scottish Independence Referendum referendum to the UK’s Supreme Court.
Miss Sturgeon acknowledged that obtaining consent was the only way to “put beyond doubt” the legality of the referendum.