Nicola Sturgeon: I have indyref2 mandate until 2021

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted she still has a mandate to hold a second Scottish independence referendum before the next Holyrood election in 2021.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The First Minister told STV News she stands by statements she made earlier in the year when she said a new poll on separation was “highly likely”.

Ms Sturgeon claimed in March she had an “unquestionable, democratic mandate” to call another referendum after Prime Minister Theresa May indicated she would stand in the way of any vote between autumn 2018 and spring the following year saying “now is not the time” for another vote.

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But after a disappointing general election which saw the Nationalists lose 21 seats at Westminster, the SNP leader appeared to move away from the issue, admitting her push for a second independence referendum in the face of public opposition “undoubtedly” cost the SNP votes as she signalled a rethink of the party’s flagship policy.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

When pressed today on the likelihood of such a poll before the end of the parliamentary term in 2021, the First Minister replied: “I stand by the comments I have made.

“Let me just, for the sake of clarity...we have a mandate for this parliament.

“We won that mandate last year but after the general election I heard clearly people saying with the uncertainty of Brexit it was premature to be definitive abut a timescale right now.”

She added: “So I have said I will not consider the timescale until there is a greater clarity about the Brexit talks.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

“I am not going to go any further than that, that’s my position.

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“But, of course I and the SNP will continue to make the case for Scotland becoming an independent country.”

The Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw called on the First Minister “to take the threat of a second referendum off the table”.

He added: “All these comments do is create uncertainty at a time when Scotland needs stability.