Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to hold a referendum on independence if the Scottish National Party wins a majority in May’s Holyrood elections – regardless of whether Boris Johnson allows it.
With the SNP polling very strongly ahead of the upcoming balls, Sturgeon’s party is setting out an 11-point roadmap for taking another vote – which will be presented to members of its national assembly on Sunday.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Scotland’s first minister said: “I want to have a legal referendum, that’s what I’m going to seek the authority of the Scottish people for in May and if they give me that authority that’s what I intend to do: to have a legal referendum to give people the right to choose.
“That’s democracy. It’s not about what I want or what Boris Johnson wants”.
The roadmap states that if the SNP takes office after May, as is expected, it will request a section 30 order from the UK government, which is part of the Scotland Act 1998 which permits Holyrood to pass laws normally dealt with by Westminster.
“There could be no moral or democratic justification for denying that request,” the document states, adding that if Johnson’s government adopted such a position it would be “unsustainable at home or abroad”.
Sturgeon’s comments come as new polling for the Sunday Times found the a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland would like to hold referendums on breaking up Britain.
In Scotland, the poll found 49 per cent backed independence compared to 44 per cent against – a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent if the undecideds are excluded.
The first minister told Marr: “The polls now show that a majority of people in Scotland want independence. If the SNP win the Scottish election in a few months’ time on proposition of giving the people that choice then what democrat could rightly stand in the way of that?”
Meanwhile Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has said a border poll on a united Ireland would be “absolutely reckless”.
The DUP leader also said it is “very disappointing” to see some nationalist parties across the UK talk about constitutional politics during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new poll has found a majority of people in Northern Ireland would like to see a referendum on the reunification of Ireland within the next five years.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Ms Foster said: “We all know how divisive a border poll would be. For us in Northern Ireland, what we have to do is all come together to fight against Covid and not be distracted by what would be absolutely reckless at this time.”
But she said she is not against having a conversation about a poll. “It is not that I’m dead against it,” she said. “I can argue for the United Kingdom every day of the week because the arguments are rational, logical and they will win through.
“Nobody is suggesting, not even this poll is suggesting, that we would lose if there was a border poll. But it would be incredibly divisive.”