Scotland’s Sturgeon: confident independence vote can happen next year

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EdinburghScottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is confident a second referendum on Scottish independence could take place in October next year, she said on Sunday.

Britain’s top court on Tuesday begins hearing arguments for allowing a secession vote without approval from British Prime Minister Liz Truss and her government.

In a 2014 plebiscite, which the British government approved, Scots rejected independence by 55%-45%. However, the Scottish National Party argues the vote for Britain to leave the European Union two years later was a game changer.

Sturgeon argues that as voters backed pro-independence parties in elections for the Scottish parliament last year, there was a mandate for them to bring forward a bill to hold a referendum on Oct. 19, 2023.

Asked during an interview on BBC TV whether she was confident that will happen, Sturgeon said: “Yes, I am confident that can happen.”

“Let’s wait and see what the court says. I am confident Scotland is going to become independent.”

Sturgeon has promised that defeat in the Supreme Court would mean the SNP would fight the next UK-wide election, due to be held in 2024, solely on a platform of whether Scotland should be independent, making it a ‘de facto’ referendum.

Sturgeon said on Sunday that was a last resort.

“That is not my preference,” she said. “If the route by which it would be right to consider and decide this issue, which is a lawful constitutional referendum, is blocked … the choice is then simple: We put our case to people in an election or we give up on Scottish democracy and I want to be very clear today I will never, ever give up on Scottish democracy.”