Sturgeon accused of using ‘de facto referendum’ to boost election hope

Ruth Davidson accuses Sturgeon of ‘de facto referendum’

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Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for the next general election to be a “de facto referendum” on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom because “there is more support for independence than there is for the SNP as a single party”, a former Scottish Conservative leader has said. Ruth Davidson, speaking to Robert Peston, claimed Ms Sturgeon “does not get to decide” what people are voting on, calling the move “absolute hubris”. Her comments follow a disappointing day for the Scottish First Minister as the Supreme Court denied her opportunity to hold a referendum without the consent of the British Government, who have said they believe the 2014 vote against leaving the union was conclusive.

Ms Davidson said: “Well, for a start, she does not get to decide what four million Scots and 58 million Brits cast their vote on. 

“She says that the next election is going to be a de facto referendum, it is absolute hubris for her to say that she can decide what people vote on.” 

She added: “I understand why Nicola Sturgeon wants to make it a de facto referendum because there is more support for independence than there is for the SNP as a single party. 

“But the Scottish Conservatives will never shy away from a fight because we believe in the United Kingdom as a Union with our heart, body and soul.” 

Following the announcement from the UK’s highest authority on Wednesday, polls of Scottish voters were conducted to determine support for both independence and the SNP. 

It showed that half of Scots would vote SNP at the next general election if a victory for the party could lead to Scottish independence. 

The snap poll of 1,006 Scottish voters was carried out by Find Out Now for Channel 4 News on Wednesday. 

Of those asked, 412 of whom voted SNP in the last general election, 50 percent said they would vote SNP at the next general election if a victory for them could lead to Scotland leaving the UK. A third (33 percent) said they would not, while the remainder said they do not know or prefer not to say.

Meanwhile, just over half (51 percent) said they would vote SNP at the next general election if their vote would be used as a mandate to negotiate independence with the UK Government, while a third said they would not.

But asked what was most important to them, just over a quarter (26 percent) said Scottish independence. 

The results reflect the criticism made by former prime minister Theresa May in the House of Commons on Wednesday, who accused the SNP of being “obsessed” with independence at the expense of an ailing Scotland economically. 

In the poll, 61 percent of respondents said the Scottish economy, and public services, were the most pressing issue, while 13 percent said they do not know or prefer not to say.


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Judges at the UK’s highest court announced their unanimous ruling on Wednesday, making clear the Scottish Parliament “does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence”.

Following the judgment, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon vowed to continue pushing for independence, saying: “As long as there is breath in my body, I refuse to give up on the basic principle of democracy.”

She said a special SNP conference will be held in the new year “to discuss and agree the details of a proposed de facto referendum”, using the next UK election.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford accused Rishi Sunak, who he said does not “even have a mandate to sit in Downing Street”, of blocking the mandate for independence. 


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