Give youth chance to vote for independent Scotland, urges Nicola Sturgeon

A new generation of young Scots from “every town and community” across the country will help deliver independence in a fresh vote on leaving the UK, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed on the fifth anniversary of the 2014 referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said young Scots should be the ones to shape the nation's future.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said young Scots should be the ones to shape the nation's future.

But a new poll out today finds a clear majority of Scots would vote to remain in the UK, in the event of another vote on the issue.

The survey, commissioned by the Scotland in Union organisation, found 59 per cent of Scots would vote to remain in the UK. But the poll was met with Nationalist accusations of an attempt to “rig” the question.

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Ms Sturgeon stepped up her calls for a new vote on leaving the UK ahead of a trip to Berlin today and insisted an SNP victory in the expected November election in Scotland would see opposition “wash away” to such a poll at Westminster.

The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford will attend a campaign event today staged by Young Scots for Independence. The First Minister insisted young people must have their say on the future of their country.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Young people from every town and community in Scotland will have their say in a fresh independence referendum – and I am confident that they will overwhelmingly vote Yes.

“No Westminster government, of any party, has the right to stand in the way of the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future. A win for the SNP in any upcoming election will simply reinforce that – the Westminster wall of opposition to an independence referendum is already crumbling and another election win for the SNP will wash it away.”

Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum late next year and legislation is making its way through the Scottish Parliament that would pave the way for this to happen.

But the UK government, which has control over the constitution, has so far rejected this.

And it comes as a new poll suggests a firm majority of Scots would vote to remain in the UK in the event of a second referendum.

The survey by the Scotland in Union organisation found 59 per cent would vote to remain, while 41 per cent would back independence.

But it uses a different question to the one posed five years ago. Instead of “should Scotland be an independent country?”, it asks “should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?”

Most polls recently have indicated that opinion among Scots was split down the middle in the independence issue.

The Survation survey also found 27 per cent of people support Ms Sturgeon’s plan for a second referendum within 18 months, while 87 per cent of those who don’t want another referendum believe the 2014 contest was a “once-in-a-generation” event.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “Just five years on from the referendum that Nicola Sturgeon promised was a ‘once-in-a-generation’ contest, this landmark poll shows that 59 per cent of people in Scotland want to remain in the UK.

“More than half a million Scots who voted ‘Yes’ in 2014 have now switched to supporting Scotland’s future in the UK to protect vital public services like the NHS and schools from the SNP’s drastic cuts.

“People are seeing the chaos that Brexit has brought and know that Scotland leaving the UK would be much worse.”

The poll saw 1,003 adults aged over 16 in Scotland, interviewed between 12 and 16 September. More than half of voters think a second referendum would make Scottish society more divided, while more than a third (36 per cent) of 2014 ‘Yes’ voters now want to remain in the UK.