Martin Lewis grills Nicola Sturgeon over independence bid
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After winning another term in Holyrood in May, the First Minister and the SNP stated their intentions to hold an independence referendum before the end of 2023. However, a poll from the British Polling Council has shown close to one in four Scots want an early referendum.
The survey, which polled 1,007 Scots and was conducted between September 1 and September 8, found support for another referendum before the end of 2023 is at 27 percent.
It represents a seven point fall for an early independence referendum, with the pollsters previously finding in February support was at 35 percent.
The poll also found only 41 percent of SNP voters, and half of those who would vote for independence, said a referendum should be staged by the end of 2022.
Around 79 percent surveyed agreed “it is more important that Scottish politicians focus on tackling coronavirus than on constitutional issues right now”, compared to 21 percent who disagreed.
Other findings from the British Polling Council survey showed support for independence has tumbled by eight points since February.
The latest poll found 48 percent backed independence compared to 52 percent wishing to remain in the Union.
However, 26 percent of people would back a vote taking place by the end of 2024.
This would break Ms Sturgeon’s manifesto commitment to hold a referendum by the end of 2023.
It comes as the SNP conference saw Westminster party leader Ian Blackford skewer Michael Gove for a viral video of him clubbing.
Referencing the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the easing of Scotland’s coronavirus measures, he said: “For you, that may have meant a summer of family reunions, for me that also means watching my beloved Hibernian as many will be doing tomorrow.
“For Michael Gove that also means dancing solo at an Aberdeen nightclub!
“But whatever your choices for you, for all of us, we are blessed to be in a far better place.”
Mr Blackford also condemned Boris Johnson and claimed “Scotland is being shafted” by the Government’s plans to increase national insurance contributions in the UK.
MPs voted to back an increase to national insurance contributions of 1.25 percent to help fund social care reforms.
Mr Blackford told the conference: “And yet this week Boris Johnson launched a new Tory poll tax – that falls hardest on Scottish families, the young and the lowest paid. A Tory tax on millions of Scottish workers to pay for English social care.
“It is one more reason why our future must be independent, giving us the powers to deliver progressive taxation – instead of being forced to pay the cost of regressive Tory tax hikes that always punish the poor.”
Jim Sillars, former SNP deputy leader, downplayed hopes an independence referendum would win.
At a fringe event at the inaugural Alba Party conference, he said another vote held too soon would sink the independence cause, and encouraged people within the movement to move away from what he called the “referendum fairytale”.
Mr Sillars added: “You don’t want a referendum unless you’ve built up the amount of support which makes sure you’re going to win it.
“If I was Boris Johnson, I would offer us a referendum in March, because we wouldn’t win it…
“We’ve got to get to 60 percent of solid, rock-hard support.”
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