Sturgeon refuses to say if she would quit after 'de facto' vote defeat

Sturgeon refuses to say if she would quit after 'de facto' vote defeat <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Sturgeon refuses to say if she would quit after 'de facto' vote defeat (Image: PA)

NICOLA Sturgeon has repeatedly refused to say if she would resign if she loses her ‘de facto’ referendum on independence.

The First Minister today said she would push ahead with the plan after the UK Supreme Court killed off her hopes of Holyrood staging its own vote next year.

Five justices unanimously ruled that Holyrood does not have the power to hold Indyref2 without Westminster’s consent, as it would intrude on the reserved matter of the Union.

Ms Sturgeon said in June that if that were to happen, she would fight the next general election as a de facto referendum on the single question of independence.

Taking questions from the media as she set out her initial response to the judgment, Ms Sturgeon was asked if she would resign as First Minister if she didn’t win more than half the vote in the general election, the threshold she has set for the ‘de facto’ referendum.

Instead she spoke about enjoying her job and persuading people to support independence.

She said: “I am determined, as far as I can and for as long as I am able, to progress the cause of independence and to give the people of Scotland the opportunity for independence.

“I will do the job as leader of the SNP and for as long as my party wants me to do that, and as First Minister of the country, for as long as the country wants me to do that.

“I will simply get on with that job, which has many different aspects to it, but for the purposes of today, that includes doing everything I can to give people in Scotland the choice.”

Ms Sturgeon was then reminded that Alex Salmond quit as First Minister after losing the 2014 independence referendum and David Cameron quit as PM after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Asked if she would follow the same precedent, she again failed to give a straight Yes or No.

She said: “On the question of my position, you know I lead the SNP, I lead the Scottish government right now. It's a job I enjoy.

“It has many tough days attached to it, as will be the case for anybody in this position.

“I do that at the will of my party and of course the electorate of Scotland.

“It's a job I intend to continue to do for quite some time to come.”

She added: “I am in this job. I enjoy this job. It's a massive responsibility and I intend to continue to do this job. It involves a lot of different responsibilities.

“The one we're talking about today is to uphold Scottish democracy and give the people of Scotland the right to have their say on independence.

“And that is one that I'm determined to pursue and do everything in my power to persuade the Scottish people to vote for independence.”

The UK Government said it not agree with Ms Sturgeon's proposal to use the next election as a de facto referendum.

Asked whether the Prime Minister agreed with the plan, his press secretary told reporters: “I don’t think that is the position of the UK Government.

“The Supreme Court’s decision today has been very clear.”

She added that it was a “matter for Holyrood” and declined to comment on “constitutional arrangements”.