THE SNP said it is not for the Prime Minister to “dictate” when Scotland holds another referendum after David Cameron said there would no second vote this parliament.
Nicola Sturgeon’s party said the timing of a another independence referendum would not be down to a “Tory Prime Minister”.
The timing of any future referendum is a matter for the people of Scotland to decideParty spokesman
Reacting to Mr Cameron’s insistence that there would not be a second independence referendum before at least 2020, an SNP spokesman said: “The SNP are not planning another referendum, but equally it is not in the gift of any politician or party to rule it out indefinitely.”
The spokesman added: “The timing of any future referendum is a matter for the people of Scotland to decide – and not for a Tory Prime Minister to dictate.”
Mr Cameron expressed his views on another poll in response to Alex Salmond’s weekend claim that a second referendum was “inevitable”.
Mr Salmond said the timing of the next vote was in the hands of Ms Sturgeon. The former SNP leader suggested the UK government’s “refusal to deliver the vow” on further devolution, the possibility of a British EU exit and austerity measures were building momentum towards another vote.
Speaking from a diplomatic and trade mission in the Far East, Mr Cameron retorted that the result of last year’s referendum had been decisive. The Prime Minister answered “yes” when asked if he would rule out another independence referendum before the next UK general election in 2020.
“I think it is important that a referendum is legal and fair and properly constituted and that’s what we had and it was decisive so I don’t see the need for another one,” Mr Cameron said.
Asked what would happen if Scotland legislated for a referendum on its own, he said: “I took a very clear approach that these things must be legitimate and that’s my view.”
With many SNP activists clamouring for another poll, some leading Nationalists said Mr Cameron’s intervention would simply increase the pressure for another referendum.
The SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Angus MacNeil tweeted: “David Cameron again talking about second independence referendum. . . momentum seems to be building. Thanks Dave.”
The issue is likely to come to a head at the SNP’s October conference where the possibility of the SNP including plans for indyref II in next year’s Scottish election manifesto will be debated.
On a trade mission to China, Ms Sturgeon said it would be up to her or any future leader of the SNP to decide whether or not a second referendum goes into a manifesto for a Scottish election. Yesterday one veteran Nationalist, the former SNP leader Gordon Wilson, said the party should not call another vote until it was sure it would win it.
Speaking to the independence-supporting National newspaper, Mr Wilson, the SNP leader from 1979 to 1990, said “by all means keep the option open”, but defy any calls for a “fixed time commitment”.
Mr Wilson urged Ms Sturgeon not to go too early. “Patience is required. It would be a strategic error to commit to a referendum until you know you are going to win,” Mr Wilson said.
“It will take a lot of character to resist the calls from enthusiastic but inexperienced new members or even those experienced hands who raise the matter prematurely. That is the mark of a political leader.”
Mr Wilson said independence was not inevitable and said the SNP had to do more work to answer the difficult questions that arose during last year’s campaign.
Serious research on currency, pensions and economic growth – all significantly missing from last year’s effort – is necessary,” he said.