Nicola Sturgeon is unlikely to call a second referendum on Scottish independence in the next five years, the country’s leading polling expert has predicted.
Sir John Curtice said the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and how to manage it would remain the Scottish Government’s priority, with another constitutional vote being “kicked into the long grass”.
The First Minister is expected to deliver an update in the autumn on her party’s plans for an IndyRef2.
“Firstly, there currently is not a majority in favour of independence,” Sir John told The Scotsman. “Nicola Sturgeon had originally conceded that a second referendum on independence would take place when the Brexit process became clear - but the Brexit process is unlikely to become clear until at least January.”
Sir John added there was a second hurdle to overcome at Westminster, as there was “no way” the Scottish Government could secure a Section 30 agreement - which gives Holyrood the power to legislate for a referendum - from the UK Government at the present time, as the DUP in the House of Commons would be likely to veto it.
He continued: “If Nicola Sturgeon’s principal objective is to remain first minister it is not clear why she would take the risk of holding a referendum that is at serious risk of being lost.”
Ms Sturgeon was last month urged to put the national interest ahead of the SNP’s drive for independence and support a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.
The plea was made by Labour MP Ian Murray in a letter to the First Minister in which he argues that her support could be pivotal when it comes to securing a People’s Vote.
Murray, a prominent Remainer and member of Scottish Labour for the Single Market, said there was now a “very real risk” of a “no-deal” Brexit, an outcome that would have “catastrophic consequences”.
A spokesman for the First Minister said at the time it was not the SNP who were standing in the way of a second EU referendum, and that Mr Murray’s time “would be better spent persuading his own Labour colleagues to back him”.