Sturgeon: I could step aside as First Minister if Scots reject independence

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she could step aside as Scotland’s First Minister if her party loses another independence referendum.

Appearing on popular daytime talk show Loose Women, Ms Sturgeon was quizzed by panellist Carol McGiffin on what it would take for her to resign as leader.

Ms Sturgeon insisted she has no intention of quitting the role as First Minister or leader of the SNP, however she conceded she may hand the reins over if the country again votes No to independence.

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was re-elected to the Scottish Parliament last year (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Government has said it plans to hold another referendum on Scotland’s place in the Union by 2023, however an official date is yet to be set.

There was fiery debate between Ms Sturgeon and McGiffin as the politician was quizzed on how she would react if another referendum was held and independence was rejected.

Ms Sturgeon jumped in to tell the panellist that it is a matter of “when” a referendum is held.

She said: “When Scotland next votes on independence, we will vote Yes,” she said.

Addressing a “hypothetical” scenario where Scotland votes No, she added: “I suspect I would make way for somebody else.

Independence supporter
The Scottish Government has vowed to hold a second vote on independence, but the timing is unknown (PA)

“I’m in the fortunate position of having been in politics for a long time, I’m not about to give it up, but when I do I will hopefully still be relatively young.”

Ms Sturgeon said she has no plans to step down anytime soon, as she told the panel she will continue until the public do not want her to.

She said: “I got re-elected [to the Scottish Parliament] last year so I have four years remaining.

“I will continue to do this job for as long as I feel I am the best person to do the job and as long as the people think I’m the best person to do the job.”

Ms Sturgeon also told STV that it remains the intention to hold the referendum next year.

She said: “I know the timescales involved here as well as anybody does. The work is underway.

“I’ll set out more about that in due course but I was elected a year ago on the very clear proposition to offer the people a choice in the first half of this Parliament and my intention is to deliver on that.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “We know from poll after poll that the majority of people of Scotland do not want another divisive referendum next year or any time soon, and that a majority want to remain part of the UK.

“But if Nicola Sturgeon thinks failure to deliver a key policy is a reason to stand down, she should reflect on her failure to deliver her promise to prioritise education, her failure to meet hospital waiting times, and her failure to cut drug deaths.”

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