Nicola Sturgeon wants Scottish independence vote by end of 2023

Nicola Sturgeon today laid down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson as she said she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence before the end of 2023. 

The SNP leader said the ‘democratic mandate’ for a re-run of the 2014 ballot is ‘beyond question’ after the party surged to victory in May’s Holyrood elections. 

The Scottish First Minister announced that Holyrood officials will now resume planning for what an independent Scotland could look like.  

A formal independence referendum will only be able to take place if Boris Johnson gives it the greenlight. 

Nicola Sturgeon today laid down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson as she said she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence before the end of 2023

Nicola Sturgeon today laid down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson as she said she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence before the end of 2023

Nicola Sturgeon today laid down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson as she said she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence before the end of 2023

Announcing her policy plans for the next year, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs this afternoon her Programme for Government ‘reaffirms the Scottish Government’s commitment to an independence referendum’. 

‘Our democratic mandate to allow people to decide the country’s future is beyond question and at this juncture in history it is essential that we consider the kind f country we want to be and how best to secure it,’ she said. 

‘As we emerge from the pandemic, choices fall to be made that will shape our economy and our society for decades to come. 

‘Which Parliament, Westminster or Holyrood, should make these choices and what principles will they be guided by. 

‘These are questions which cannot be avoided nor postponed until the die is already cast. 

‘So we intend to offer the choice. We will do so only when the Covid crisis has passed but our aim, Covid permitting, is that it will be in the first half of this parliament before the end of 2023. 

‘And crucially we will ensure that the choice when it does come it is a fully informed one.

‘To that end, I can confirm that the Scottish Government will now restart work on the detailed prospectus that will guide the decision.’

It remains unclear how Ms Sturgeon will proceed should Mr Johnson refuse to grant permission for the vote. 

Ministers had suggested earlier this year that the Prime Minister could agree to holding another vote if 60 per cent of Scots want one.

A recent Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times suggested that 48 per cent of Scots supported leaving the UK

A recent Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times suggested that 48 per cent of Scots supported leaving the UK

 A recent Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times suggested that 48 per cent of Scots supported leaving the UK

But such a level of support, shown through opinion polling, would have to be sustained for a long period of time.     

Following around six months of consistent polling showing majority support for separation last year – with one poll going as high as 58 per cent in favour – the tide has seemingly turned in 2021. 

A recent survey by Panelbase for the Sunday Times found 48 per cent of the 1,287 respondents supported leaving the UK while 52 per cent were in favour of the Union. 

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