SNP policy to retain monarchy helps boost independence support, suggests John Curtice

The SNP’s policy to retain the monarchy after independence helps boost support for Yes, Professor Sir John Curtice has suggested.

The Strathclyde University polling expert said support for the monarchy among Scots “is more popular than support for a republic”.

His comments came after Nicola Sturgeon spoke of her “deep respect” for the Queen as celebrations continue to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

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The First Minister said she supported the Queen and her successors remaining head of state in an independent Scotland.

First Minister Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The Greens, who have a power-sharing agreement with the SNP, boycotted a Holyrood debate on the Jubilee on Wednesday.

Sir John told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “It is clear that the monarchy among Scots in general is more popular at the moment than is a republic, albeit that is not true among Yes supporters.

“Of course, Nicola Sturgeon’s job, given the polls suggest that probably, at the moment, slightly less than 50 per cent of people in Scotland are in favour of independence – she needs to grow that number and she’s not going to necessarily make her life any easier by saying that one of the consequences of independence would be that the monarchy would go.

“She needs to go for as broad a constituency as possible. Her job, with respect to this issue, is not simply to appeal to her base.

“The truth is that those people who not only want independence but would like to get rid of the monarchy are frankly probably going to vote Yes anyway.

“That’s not the group that Nicola Sturgeon has to focus on.

"She has to focus on those who are uncertain, unclear and are not sure what the consequences would be, but equally are not entirely happy about the state of the UK – that’s the group of people who for the most part would probably still want Scotland to retain the monarchy.”

Speaking to the BBC earlier, Ms Sturgeon praised the Queen’s “selfless commitment to duty”.

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She said: "I like her a lot – I have deep respect for her as many people do.”

The First Minister said her conversations with the Queen are private and confidential.

She added: "But I think it is fair to say that that opportunity to talk with her, to benefit from her knowledge, her wisdom and perhaps above all the completely unique perspective she has on modern world history, is something that I deeply value and will always really treasure."

Ms Sturgeon said the Queen was "someone you feel comfortable talking to and talking to quite openly".

She said: "I have benefited from it, I have learned from it and it is something I will always cherish.

"She is somebody who has had a front row seat on the last 70 years of history. She has met every world leader over that time. She has seen up close and personal some of the key events of history.

"The knowledge that gives her, the wisdom that gives her, the perspective that gives her is much more valuable in these conversations then any specific thing that she will perhaps say".

When asked if she was a monarchist, Ms Sturgeon said: "I support the Queen and her successors remaining head of state – it is the policy of my party.”