It would be “unsustainable” for the UK Government to block a second referendum on Scottish independence if a majority at Holyrood backs it after the May election, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Scotland’s First Minister said that the country must have the chance to put the recovery into its own hands and that “Scotland’s future must, and will, be decided by the people of Scotland”.
She also said that taking legal action over the situation would be an “appalling” look for any Prime Minister, and warned against using Donald Trump-like tactics.
Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly called for another independence referendum to be held but all such requests have been rebuffed by Downing Street, first under Theresa May and then the current Government headed by Boris Johnson.
The SNP’s election manifesto has set out plans to hold a second vote on Scottish independence by the end of 2023.
Writing in the Observer, Ms Sturgeon said that once the Covid crisis has passed, people in Scotland must have the right to choose their future.
She wrote: “Tackling the pandemic and getting the recovery under way come first. However, if there is a majority in the Scottish parliament after this election for an independence referendum, then Scotland must have the chance to put the recovery into Scotland’s hands.
“For the UK Government to seek to block it would be unsustainable. For it to try to take legal action, as has been suggested, would be asking a court to effectively overturn the result of a free and fair democratic election.
“That would be an appalling look for any prime minister. More to the point, it didn’t work for Donald Trump, and it wouldn’t work for Boris Johnson.”
Ms Sturgeon has pledged she will not push for another referendum on independence until after the pandemic.
A UK Government spokesman said: “Now more than ever, people in Scotland want to see the UK Government and the devolved administrations working together to protect lives and livelihoods.
“The United Kingdom is the most successful political and economic union the world has ever seen, and this pandemic and our collective response, from the furlough scheme to vaccine procurement and the backing of our military personnel, has shown that we are at our strongest when we work together towards a common goal.
“The push for a divisive referendum is simply irresponsible. It is a distraction, when we need to focus on continuing to tackle the pandemic and rebuilding our economy.”