First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed Scottish Parliament at Holyrood about her plans for a second Scottish independence referendum today, subsequently taking questions from opposition leaders and MSPs on the issue.
Silence had to be called for several times as the First Minister laid out what the proposed bill would include and what timeline Scottish independence would follow in the coming months and years. Here’s what the First Minister said today and what that means for her plans for Scottish independence as the leader of the SNP.
What did First Minister Nicola Sturgeon say in announcement about indyref2 today?
Ms Sturgeon admitted that there are questions around independence but emphasised that “the democratic rights of the Scottish people are paramount”. She went on to claim that the Scottish people have already virtually chosen a referendum by voting the SNP into power in Scotland.
"Scotland has paid a price for not being independent” she went on to claim, a problem that the First Minister claims has never been “starker” than in the current political climate, following the UK’s departure from the EU and current economic situation throughout the UK. Ms Sturgeon argues that the Scottish government has done what it can to mitigate the damage from the UK Government, but simply lacks the power to do what they would like.
Scottish independence “is about helping us achieve our potential” and will “take more than changing the guard at Westminister. The First Minister went on to criticise the UK Government by saying that not only do the Tories “thoroughly deserve” to lose the next election but that the Labour party are no true alternative.
"Now is the time to get Scotland on the right path,” said Ms Sturgeon. “Now is the time for independence.” She went on to argue that Scotland has a right to another referendum and will write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson today to “secure Scotland’s right to choose”.
Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that the Scottish Government is beginning work on the Scottish Referendum Bill, which would include a consultative independence referendum within it. A majority yes vote from this referendum would not become legislative therefore, requiring follow up legislation in order for it to become law.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs the Bill will set out for a referendum to be held on October 19 2023, with the question to be asked the same as in the 2014 vote “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
She added she would make clear she is "ready and willing" to negotiate the terms of a Section 30 order with him, which would give Holyrood the power to hold a referendum. But with the Prime Minister having repeatedly refused her calls for another referendum to be held, Ms Sturgeon added "What I am not willing to do, what I will never do is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister."
The First Minister stated: "My determination is to secure a process that allows the people of Scotland, whether yes, no or yet to be decided, to express their views in a legal, constitutional referendum so the majority view can be established fairly and democratically.
"The steps I am setting out today seek to achieve that."
After her speech, the floor was opened to 40 minutes of questions from other MSPs, where Scottish Conservative Party Leader Douglas Ross called the plans “selfish” from the SNP at a time where Scotland needs to be united. Mr Ross went on to state that MSPs leaving the room while she was talking is a sign of how divisive the Bill would be.
Additional reporting by PA.