Nicola Sturgeon grilled on 'economic cost' of independence
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Nicola Sturgeon, head of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and First Minister of Scotland, has said if her party bags another majority in the next election, the Scottish people will have another referendum on independence – named IndyRef2. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has largely been trying to evade the issue, an SNP source said the “game is up” and it’s clear that should Scotland vote for a referendum by ushering in the party for another term, there will have to be one. The source said: “Boris Johnson knows there is going to be an independence referendum after the pandemic if the people of Scotland vote for one.”
They added: “But a simple majority is all that is ever needed for a democratic mandate to exist, and that applies to Scotland just as it does in the rest of the democratic world, rather than being held to some absurd special standard.”
Reportedly, discussions are already happening in Whitehall about a potential amendment to the Scotland Act in an effort to render it “totally unambiguous” that Holyrood does not have the powers to legislate for a referendum.
However, the SNP source added: “Any Tory plan to try and amend the Scotland Act after people have voted for a referendum would be not so much a case of moving the goalpost as digging up the whole football pitch.
“It would trample all over not just the 1977 devolution referendum but also the Smith Commission, signed up to by all Unionist parties.”
In fact, a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Mori found that support for IndyRef2 is prominent all over the UK, not just in Scotland.
The survey included a representative sample of 8,558 people aged 16 and over in the UK, with interviews conducted online between April 1 and April 7, 2021.
The findings saw 66 percent of Northern Ireland residents and 56 percent of Scots in favour of another referendum, while 51 percent of people in England and Wales also agreed.
On the question of independence, it’s fairly even, with 46 percent of Scots preferring their country to vote to remain in the Union, and 45 percent wanting to opt out.
Those in England and Wales are mostly in favour of Scotland staying in the UK, with 51 percent and 57 percent respectively.
In other findings discovered in the poll, more than half of respondents said they don’t believe the UK will exist in its current state in 10 years from now – something which could have a devastating impact on Britain’s reputation and standing in the world.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Professor of Politics at the University of Kent, Adrian Pabst said: “Following Brexit, the UK has been weakened on the international stage, as its foreign policy tilts to the Indo-Pacific and it risks playing a lesser role across the wider European space.
“Without its nuclear deterrent and with another difficult border arrangement [with Scotland] besides the border on the island of Ireland, the rest of the UK would be further diminished.”
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The last Scottish independence referendum took place just seven years ago in 2014, in which Scotland voted to stay in the union.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron introduced a concept titled ‘English Votes for English Laws’ in which English MPs would vote on English issues without involvement of other MPs from the union – something which Mr Pabst says hasn’t been successful at preserving the country’s future.
The Professor explained: “In constitutional terms, England is the elephant in the room – with 85 percent of the population by far the largest part of the Union yet politically unrepresented and absent from current arrangements.
“Cameron’s ‘English Votes for English Laws’ does little to change the fundamental fact of a lopsided union: over centralised yet with separate legislatures and executives in all three parts except England.
“Losing Scotland would not only weaken the UK, but also further strain relations between Scotland and England, leaving both diminished.
“England would not just lose its nuclear capability, based at Faslane on Gare Lock, 40 miles northwest of Glasgow.
“But it might also have to contend with new border arrangements which are likely to disrupt economic exchange and good neighbourly ties – not to mention deepening political divisions.”
Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Mori Scotland, said: “The Scottish Parliament elections on May 6 look set to be a critical point in the future of the Union.
“Should the SNP win a majority of seats, as looks likely if current levels of support hold, it will be much more difficult for the UK Government to refuse a second referendum on independence.”
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