Sturgeon says there are “no short cuts” to indyref II

Nicola Sturgeon has warned the SNP that there are no “short cuts” to a second independence referendum saying they had to persuade more people to vote Yes.
Picture: TSPLPicture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

On the first anniversary of last year’s poll, the First Minister told SNP parliamentarians that they had to grow support from independence from 45 per cent to a clear majority in the “years ahead”.

Ms Sturgeon’s remarks will be seen as an attempt to manage the expectations of those who are clamouring for another poll.

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In a speech to an audience of MPs and MSPs in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon suggested that the United Kingdom was “living on borrowed time” and warned there would be “unstoppable” demand for another indyref if Scotland found itself facing an EU exit that it did not vote for.

But she tempered her message with a warning that there was more work to be done.

“If we are to win independence, we must convince a majority of Scots that it represents the best future for Scotland,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“That was true last year. It is true now and it will be true at all times in the future. There are no short cuts. Independence won’t happen just because its supporters become more impatient for change. An even more committed, enthusiastic and impatient 45 per cent is still just 45 per cent.

“If Scotland is to become more independent, we must build the support for independence. Just as in the referendum campaign, it grew from 30 per cent to 45 per cent, we must in the years ahead take it from 45 per cent to a clear majority. That means we must persuade the people we failed to persuade last year.

“That means understanding why they voted No. And it means addressing those concerns, patiently, carefully and comprehensively. That is our challenge.”

Ms Sturgeon also announced that the SNP’s campaign for next year’s Scottish elections would start immediately.

With the 2016 poll 230 days away, the First Minister said the SNP’s goal was to win a majority at Holyrood.

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Deputy First Minister John Swinney has been appointed campaign director, taking the place of Angus Robertson, who has held the role in the past.

SNP sources said Mr Robertson had stepped aside, because his hands were full as a result of his job as the party’s Westminster leader.

The SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie will be in charge of the manifesto. While the SNP’s youngest MP, Mhairi Black has been handed a new role spearheading the youth campaign to encourage teenage voters to support her party.