Nicola Sturgeon could push for an independence vote before Christmas
Nicola Sturgeon could push for an independence vote before Christmas even without Boris Johnson’s approval, SNP minister suggests
- Michael Russell said an independence vote could be held by June this year
- The SNP minister said Holyrood would stage another vote without approval
- Referendum in 2014 was rejected in the country by 55 per cent to 45 per cent
- Boris Johnson refused permission for another vote, saying matter was settled
Nicola Sturgeon could push for an independence vote before Christmas even without Boris Johnson’s approval, an SNP minister has suggested.
Michael Russell said the vote could be held six months after Holyrood passes a referendum bill, which should take place in June.
Last week the SNP’s constitution minister said the Scottish government would stage another vote if the prime minister continued to refuse one, reported The Times.
On the subject of Scotland’s break from the UK he said: ‘I think it’s really impossible to say when it will be.
‘I hope very soon but I think it is dependent upon the pandemic subsiding. Best practice for referendums suggests that six months should expire between the legislation and the referendum.’
Michael Russell (pictured with Nicola Sturgeon) said the vote could be held six months after Holyrood passes a referendum bill, which should take place in June
The vote in 2014 was rejected by 55 per cent to 45 per cent, but Scottish nationalists hope Brexit had a substantial impact on the opinions of the nation. Some 66 per cent of Scots voted to remain in the EU in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister flew to Glasgow last week as part of efforts to sure up the union. He will be travelling to the country every two months to boost Scots’ opinions of the UK.
Since entering office in July 2019, Johnson has travelled to Scotland on four official visits and two campaigning trips.
Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon’s handling of the coronavirus crisis won over swathes of Labour and Tory voters, according to a poll published last week.
A survey conducted by Savanta ComRes showed Ms Sturgeon’s personal ratings are up, with 76 per cent of voters believing her to be intelligent, an increase of three points.
Last week the SNP’s constitution minister said the Scottish government would stage another vote if the prime minister (pictured) continued to refuse one, reported The Times
Some 74 per cent of respondents said she is a strong leader, also up three points, and 57 per cent believe she is genuine, up two points.
More than a third of 2019 Labour voters said the SNP’s response to the pandemic means they are now more likely to vote for the party in May, with 13 per cent of 2019 Tory voters saying the same thing.
Meanwhile, a majority of Scots continue to support Scottish independence, with the latest survey putting support for ‘Yes’ at 57 per cent and ‘No’ at 43 per cent.
The poll numbers are likely to prompt alarm bells in Labour and Conservative headquarters.
A survey last week suggested the SNP was on course for a crushing victory at Holyrood elections in May
A poll by Savanta ComRes found 57 per cent of Scots back independence while 43 per cent back staying part of the UK
They suggest the SNP could be heading for an even stronger than expected showing at the elections in May.
The Savanta ComRes survey of 1,016 Scottish adults between January 8 and 13 for The Scotsman suggested some 53 per cent of people intend to vote for the SNP.
Some 19 per cent intend to vote for the Tories with Labour a close third on 18 per cent and the Lib Dems next on six per cent.
The SNP figure of 53 per cent is down two per cent while the Tories are down one per cent and Labour is up two per cent.
Almost half (46 per cent) of 2019 Labour voters said their impression of Ms Sturgeon has improved since the start of the pandemic with 36 per cent of 2019 Tory voters saying the same.
Some 14 per cent of 2019 SNP voters said they are now more likely to vote Labour in May while eight per cent of 2019 SNP voters said they are now more likely to vote Conservative.
Boris Johnson is shown the Lighthouse Laboratory used for processing PCR samples, during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus on January 28 in Glasgow
While Ms Sturgeon’s personal ratings have continued to rise, those of her challengers – Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard – remain largely static, according to Savanta ComRes.
The survey also suggested the ‘Yes’ campaign would win a relatively comfortable victory if there was a re-run of the 2014 independence referendum.
The poll found 57 per cent of likely voters would choose independence while 43 per cent would vote for the status quo.
The ‘Yes’ campaign’s lead has narrowed by two points since December but the continued support for breaking away will be cause for concern in Downing Street as Boris Johnson tries to protect the Union.
Ms Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a second referendum on independence soon after the Holyrood elections but Mr Johnson is adamant he will not grant permission for another poll.
The PM has repeatedly said he believes the 2014 vote settled the matter for a generation.
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