Ian Blackford: General election will act as ‘springboard’ for independence referendum
A forthcoming general election campaign will act as a “springboard” for securing an IndyRef2, the SNP’s Westminster leader has claimed.
Ian Blackford said support for Scottish independence was growing and that his party was looking forward to another Westminster poll - widely expected to be called by the end of the year - despite a new survey suggesting a majority retained support for the Union.
The senior Nationalist joined young independence supporters in Glasgow city centre on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of 2014 referendum.
His appearance followed the publication of a Survation poll, carried out for Scotland in Union, which found that 59 per cent of voters would vote to “remain in the UK” - a variation on the wording of the question in the last plebiscite.
The same survey also found that just 13 per cent of Scots backed the creation of a separate currency, rather than retaining Sterling in an independent Scotland.
Mr Blackford insisted the SNP had taken a “pragmatic position” on currency. “We are keeping the pound, and we have the option - when the parliament decides its right, based on the recommendation from a Scottish central bank - of taking a decision on having our own currency,” he said.
“It’s a pragmatic position and one I believe the people of Scotland will respond to.”
He also added that the question asked in the 2014 referendum must be used again at any future IndyRef2.
“At the end of the day the question that was there in 2014 was the right question,” he said. “The Electoral Commission were the ones who came forward with it and that’s the one that should be the basis of any future referendum.
“What we had was a clear and unambiguous question in 2014, that should be respected.”
Asked if he was disappointed that the pro-independence side was not further ahead in polls of voting intentions at a future referendum, Mr Blackford said: “People have waited to see the direction of travel in the last couple of years, and that’s not finished.
“Look at what’s going on at Westminster, it’s not working, it’s not functioning.
“What we’ve got in Edinburgh is a government that is functioning. We have to step back and look at what the Scottish Parliament has done in 20 years and complete that journey.
“Support for independence is growing and I am looking forward to the election campaign that will come over the next few months that will be the springboard for us having an independence referendum.
“Once that campaign is formally launched, support for independence will continue to build - of that I have no doubt.”