Leading SNP politicians are drawing up a renewed case for Scottish independence while the United Kingdom is in lockdown. According to a recent report by The Times, the SNP are formulating policies and expecting to unveil a prospectus once the coronavirus outbreak has come to an end. Before the pandemic, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was determined to hold a second referendum on independence this year, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly rejecting her calls.
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world, the Scottish Government has put the campaign on hold.
A Holyrood election is due next May and if the SNP were to win an outright majority it would significantly raise the chance of a second referendum being held.
As uncertainty over the future of the Union continues, unearthed reports reveal how Ms Sturgeon refused to rule out trying for a third independence referendum within a short period if she lost her planned second vote.
In 2017, the First Minister was challenged twice during a special edition of the BBC’s Question Time programme in Edinburgh to promise that the result of a second referendum would be respected for a minimum period, such as a generation or 25 years.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon promised during the 2014 referendum campaign that another vote would not be held for another generation, perhaps a lifetime.
However, she requested a second referendum at the end of the Brexit process in 2017.
An audience member asked: “If there was a second vote, should it apply for a minimum period of time, for a generation, 25, 30 years?”
Ms Sturgeon justified her about-turn by arguing that Scots were erroneously told during the 2014 referendum that a No vote would have protected the country’s place in the EU.
However, pressed again whether the result of a second referendum would be respected for a minimum period if she lost, she said: “I don’t think it’s right for any politician to dictate to a country what its future should be.
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Pro-independence rally in 2014
“I think that should be a choice for the people of Scotland.”
According to Lord David Owen, Mr Johnson will ultimately have to back down to the SNP’s demands for a second referendum – but not any time soon.
The former Foreign Secretary and SDP leader told Express.co.uk: “I totally believe in the Union.
“And I would be very surprised if the Government agrees to another referendum before the next election.
“It will come after the next election – so in four or five years.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Lord David Owen
“The former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond made it absolutely clear in the 2014 referendum campaign that it was a generational question.
“He used the word. Now, you can argue about what is a generation… Certainly 10 years. I would say even 15 to 20.”
Lord Owen noted: “You don’t have a referendum when you think you can win it.
“Referendums are rare things and are largely for constitutional issues.
“We were asked about EU membership in 1975 and then in 2016. That is a long time.
“You don’t have referendums on constitutional issues every five or six years.”