Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon to set out route map to second referendum next week

A date has been set for Nicola Sturgeon to reveal her “route map” to a second independence referendum.

The First Minister will give a statement to Holyrood next Tuesday in which she will outline plans to hold a second referendum without the UK Government's approval.

It comes after she launched the first in a series of new papers setting out the updated prospectus for an independent Scotland.

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Described as a "scene-setter", it laid out the economic and social differences between Scotland and other small countries, attributing the deficit to not having the full powers of an independent country.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/WPA pool/Getty Images
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Future papers will tackle issues such as currency, pensions, defence, EU membership and trade, with Ms Sturgeon vowing she will not "shy away" from tough questions.

She previously promised a "significant update" this month on how another referendum can be held without the relevant powers being granted by Westminster through a section 30 order, as happened in 2014.

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It is not clear if legislation will form part of this update.

SNP constitution secretary Angus Robertson said Ms Sturgeon would set out a "route map" to a referendum.

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Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a second referendum in October next year, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is unlikely to agree to this.

Speaking during a press conference in Edinburgh last week, the First Minister said she would deliver on her "mandate" for a referendum, but insisted it "must be lawful".

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She said the UK Government had "no respect for democracy", adding: "That means if we are to uphold democracy here in Scotland, we must forge a way forward, if necessary, without a section 30 order."

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Ms Sturgeon added: "We know that in these circumstances, the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate is contested, and that therefore is the situation we must navigate to give people the choice of independence. That work is well underway."

The union is reserved to Westminster, but there are different legal views on whether referendum legislation would fall outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

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There is an expectation the UK Government would challenge the legislation in the Supreme Court.

Aileen McHarg, professor of public law and human rights at Durham University, previously told The Scotsman the chances of the Scottish Government winning a court battle over a second referendum were "quite slim".

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The announcement drew the ire of Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron, who said Scots were “sick and tired of the SNP’s obsession with independence”.

The SNP have been the largest party in every election in Scotland for more than a decade.

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Mr Cameron said: “In the last week before summer recess, people want to hear their MSPs discussing the issues that really matter to them – not yet another speech on independence from Nicola Sturgeon.

“With the cost of living spiralling, Scotland’s NHS facing an unprecedented crisis, and our economy still struggling to recover from the pandemic, this debate is an unjustifiable waste of time.

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“Once again, Nicola Sturgeon has blatantly ignored Scotland’s real priorities to promote an unwanted second referendum.”