Sturgeon slams reported plan to wreck Scottish independence as ‘desperate’

Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow (Lesley Martin/PA) (PA Wire)
Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow (Lesley Martin/PA) (PA Wire)

Nicola Sturgeon has branded the idea of a Referendum Act that would dash the hopes of those campaigning for Scottish independence as “desperate” and the work of people who “fear losing”.

The Sunday Times said the plan being considered by ministers would mean that more than half of Scotland’s entire electorate, rather than a majority as is currently the case, would need to vote to leave the union before secession would be allowed.

The newspaper said the plan would require evidence for more than a year that at least 60% of voters want a new referendum on independence before the UK Government would even consider it.

And then if the referendum did take place, at least half of all of Scotland’s electorate would need to vote to leave the union – rather than a majority of more than 50% of those who voted, which was the case with the 2014 independence referendum and the 2016 Brexit vote.

Tweeting on Saturday night, Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon said: “Only those who fear losing feel the need to change the democratic goalposts.

“This desperate suggestion is proof positive that the independence arguments are winning.”

Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

In 2014, 85% of the Scottish electorate voted – a record turnout for the UK – and when the ballots were counted it emerged that 55% backed remaining part of the union.

Ms Sturgeon has already made clear her determination hold a second vote on independence in October 2023, but to do so she needs the UK Supreme Court to rule such a vote can be held without the consent of Westminster.

If she cannot hold a referendum next year, the SNP leader has vowed to make the next Westminster election a “de facto referendum” on independence.