Sturgeon confirms referendum during pandemic recovery

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will hold another referendum before Scotland’s recovery from Covid.

The SNP leader has previously said indyref2 should be held in the “recovery phase".

But her comments in a BBC interview this morning are the clearest signal yet that it would happen during the pandemic recovery period, if the SNP win a majority on Thursday.

She said: "... what kind of country do we want Scotland to recover to and who should be in the driving seat of that?"

Douglas Ross described Sturgeon's threat as "beyond irresponsible" and said that the only guaranteed way to stop an SNP majority is for pro-UK voters to back the Scottish Conservatives.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: "The threat has never been more real. Sturgeon is explicit. If she secures a Holyrood majority, she will hold a damaging and divisive referendum while Scotland is still reeling from the impact of Covid.

"This is beyond irresponsible. When our Scottish Parliament should be entirely focused on rebuilding and recovery, Sturgeon will plunge us into chaos and uncertainty.

"She talks about being in the driving seat — the problem is she wants to drive our economy off the edge of a cliff.

 

"If pro-UK voters lend the Scottish Conservatives their vote on the peach-coloured party list ballot paper, they can prevent an SNP majority and stop another referendum.”

 


NOTES:

 

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that she would hold a referendum before Scotland's recovery from Covid in an interview with Martin Geissler on BBC Scotland's The Sunday Show this morning (BBC iPlayer, LINK).

 

Transcript:

MG: When do you want to do this because I have spoken to a number of your frontbench colleagues, who have said when its safe Covid wise, but we’ll go right ahead with this when we are still recovering from the economic shock. In the middle of an economic shock, we’ll have another referendum.

NS: Recovery is not separate to who takes the decisions and where power lies. If we don’t decide to take the longer-term recovery into our own hands, the real risk just as was the case after the financial crash, is we’ve got another decide of Tory austerity. Now I have tried my best to steer this country through a Covid pandemic for a year, I will do that every waking moment of mine will be focused on that for as long as it takes but once we get over the crisis, it actually matters to our long-term.Recovery is not a neutral concept, what kind of country do we want to recover to and who do we want to be in the driving seat of that.

MG: Once we are through this, say we are in a position where we meet all of your Covid criteria for safety to hold a referendum, say that happens in January 2023, just say, let’s pick a month in the calendar. If you’re polling about 40 per cent at that point you’re not going to hold it are you, you’re not going to do it until you are sure you can win. We’ve got this hanging over us until you think you can win.

NS: Hanging over us? Even if I was to say Martin, 50 per cent thereabouts maybe slightly above that these days of people in Scotland support independence. Even if I was to say look we shouldn’t be thinking about this, the people of the country are the ones who have the right to decide their own future and you can only decide that democratically.

MG: They can only do it when you decide to hold it.

NS: Actually, when can only do it when the Scottish Parliament decides to hold it. It’s not just me as an individual and it shouldn’t be me as an individual politician no more than it should be Boris Johnson as an individual politician who decides Scotland’s future it should be the Scottish people. It’s a basic principle of democracy.My focus though will be on continuing to steer us through Covid and then yes giving people the right to decide what kind of country do we want Scotland to recover to and who should be in the driving seat of that.I don’t want Boris Johnson making the decisions about the kind of country Scotland needs to become. 

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