Nicola Sturgeon: We’ll have referendum when we can win

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NICOLA Sturgeon has indicated another referendum will not be staged until she believes independence can be achieved, while confirming that the SNP manifesto will contain details of its timing.

In a series of interviews conducted to mark the first anniversary of last year’s poll, Sturgeon shed light on her thinking about holding another independence vote. This Friday will mark exactly a year since Scotland rejected independence by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP manifesto will set out plans for a new vote. Picture: John Devlin

Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP manifesto will set out plans for a new vote. Picture: John Devlin

Speaking ahead of the milestone, Sturgeon said her party’s manifesto for next year’s Scottish election will include more details on the circumstances under which another vote might be “appropriate”.

She said: “Our manifesto will set out what we consider are the circumstances and the timescale on which a second referendum might be appropriate, but we can only propose.

“It’s then for people in Scotland, whether it is in this election or in future elections, to decide whether they want to vote for our manifesto and then if there is in the future another independence referendum, whether that’s in five years or 10 years or whenever, it will be down to the people of Scotland to decide whether they want to vote for independence or not.

“So at every single stage this is something that is driven by and decided by the people of Scotland, not by politicians.”

This is driven by and decided by the people of Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon

In a separate interview to be broadcast by STV tomorrow in a documentary, Scotland What Next?, Sturgeon describes the “utter devastation” she felt when the Yes campaign failed to win the poll held on 18 September last year. The First Minister says: “I felt that personally. We were all grief-stricken…”

She then goes on to say that the next bid for independence should happen when she is confident of winning. She adds: “I don’t ever want to feel what I felt in the early hours of 19 September… if we are going to have another independence referendum I want to know there is support in Scotland for independence that means that referendum is going to be successful.“

Sturgeon’s remarks were criticised by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who said: “Nicola Sturgeon has now made it clear that she wants to take Scotland back to another referendum, with all the uncertainty and division that entails. This is despite the fact that only last year she promised Scots that last year’s referendum would be once in a generation.

“As polling shows this weekend, another referendum also flies in the face of public opinion. Most people in Scotland want to put last year’s referendum behind them and get on with life. Despite her own promises, it is now clear that Nicola Sturgeon wants to take Scotland back to a neverendum.”

The STV documentary also has a contribution from Alistair Darling, the former leader of the victorious Better Together campaign. Darling attacks Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans for English Votes for English Laws, saying: “English votes for English laws is a piece of nonsense and it should be rejected. It doesn’t work and will never work … we need to get it right … otherwise the consequences will be fatal.”  

He also says Scotland is more divided now than a year ago, saying: “I have never come across some of the divisions, amongst friends, amongst family – people saying things to each other that I would have thought unbelievable. I think that it is corrosive, it won’t go away – this is not something you can easily fix and it’s almost being encouraged by the nationalists – this idea that if you’re not for them you’re against Scotland.

“Half the population didn’t vote for them, and a country that is divided from top to 
bottom where you’ve got these divisions, which you do see day in day out, it is very, very, very bad for Scotland.”