Nicola Sturgeon to launch new Scottish independence drive
Critics called the new push “nothing short of shameful”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “A year ago the people of Scotland voted for a Parliament with a clear majority in favour of independence and for a referendum once the Covid crisis was over.
“In line with that mandate, we are committed to giving people the information they need and tomorrow we will make the case afresh with the launch of the first in a series of papers called the Building a New Scotland series, which will form an updated independence prospectus.”
The first paper – described as a “scene-setter” – will detail how neighbouring European countries comparable to Scotland “use their full powers of independence to tailor policies to their own specific circumstances and in doing so achieve better economic and social outcomes than the UK”.
Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a second referendum before the end of next year, but the UK Government is unlikely to agree to this.
The new independence papers will focus on issues such as currency, pensions, defence and security, trade and EU membership.
Ahead of the 2014 referendum, the Scottish Government published a 650-page white paper on independence.
Ms Sturgeon insisted now is “exactly the time” for another referendum.
She told the BBC: "Independence and the case for it is not abstract, it’s not separate from all these big challenges that we face, it’s exactly about how we best equip ourselves to navigate those challenges, so that we don’t have our budget set by Westminster, but we’re in charge of these decisions ourselves.”
The First Minister said she would say more about the relevant legislation in the weeks to come.
Asked about the possibility of holding a referendum without the UK Government’s consent, she said: “Without a section 30 order, we all know that the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate is contested. It hasn’t yet been tested.
"But that is the issue we’re currently navigating so that we can deliver a lawful process.”
Asked if she really believed a referendum would happen before the end of 2023, Ms Sturgeon said: “Yes.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said: “The vast majority of Scottish people don’t want the distraction of another referendum next year.
"They want the Government 100 per cent focused on our recovery from the pandemic, the global cost-of-living crisis, supporting our NHS and protecting jobs.
"Yet Nicola Sturgeon is recklessly pressing ahead with her obsession anyway. This is nothing short of shameful when the country is facing so many momentous challenges.
“The distraction and disruption of another bitter referendum debate is the last thing Scotland needs right now.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Nicola Sturgeon has launched more independence campaigns than ferries.
“This coalition is about one thing and one thing only. Ministers are devoting their attention, top civil servants and tens of millions of pounds to independence.
“They care more about their independence obsession than everyone stuck on the longest NHS waiting lists in history, the cost-of-living crisis or the climate emergency.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.