Fear of losing independence referendum not a reason to rewrite rules – Sturgeon

·1-min read
The Scottish Government is seeking to hold a referendum on independence next year (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
The Scottish Government is seeking to hold a referendum on independence next year (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Scotland’s First Minister has said a fear of losing a referendum on Scottish independence is not a reason to rewrite the rules of the contest amid reports of plans from Liz Truss.

The Sunday Times reported that the Tory leadership frontrunner plans to pass a new law that would bar another independence referendum until polls show 60% of Scots favour a new vote for at least a year.

Support for independence in the polls peaked at 58% during the pandemic but that figure has slid in recent years.

The terms of the referendum would also be changed so at least 50% of the total electorate in Scotland had to vote in favour of Scotland’s secession for the country to leave the union.

The First Minister was speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday (Jeff Mitchell/PA) (PA Wire)
The First Minister was speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday (Jeff Mitchell/PA) (PA Wire)

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC referred a prospective referendum Bill to the UK Supreme Court to ascertain if legislating for another referendum was within the powers of Holyrood, with oral arguments to be heard in the case next month.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon said the reported reform would be “a changing of the basic rules of democracy that we have all abided by for our entire lifetimes and long before that”.

“Just because you fear losing a democratic contest, it’s not an excuse or doesn’t make it acceptable to rewrite the rules of democracy,” she added.

Ms Sturgeon said the proposals were an attempt to “gerrymander the rules”, adding: “That is a sign of fundamental weakness and a lack of confidence in her case for the union.”

The First Minister went on to say there has “never been a positive case for the union made”.