Thousands of Scots have signed a petition opposing a second referendum on independence after plans were unveiled by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for a new campaign to persuade Scots to leave the UK.
A poll for Scotland on Sunday found a majority of Scots would vote for independence if the country was removed from the European Union against its wishes in the forthcoming referendum.
Ms Sturgeon told delegates at the SNP conference at the weekend that she would be launching a summer “initiative” to persuade wavering Scots who voted No in 2014 that independence is now the best choice for Scotland. She told delegates: “Many wanted to be persuaded in 2014 – but ultimately didn’t find our arguments compelling enough.”
The petition launched in response by the Scottish Conservatives calls on Ms Sturgeon to “keep her promise” that the referendum was a once in a generation event.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “The SNP’s decision to take us back to another independence campaign is opposed by thousands of Scots who now just want the country to get on.
“Nicola Sturgeon said repeatedly that the 2014 referendum would be a once in a generation event. She signed the Edinburgh Agreement promising to respect the result.
“The announcement of a new push to break up Britain shows she cares more about being First Minister for the SNP instead of First Minister for Scotland.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie warned that a vote to leave the EU will put the future of the UK at risk.
Mr Rennie accused the SNP of playing up the possibility of a vote to leave the EU and withholding their full and unconditional support to remain to kickstart another Scottish independence referendum.
He said: “We heard again this weekend the Nationalists are revving up their independence referendum engines. Instead of opting to heal the divisions following the last referendum they want to open up fresh rifts.”
The poll by ICM on Sunday found if the UK opts to leave the EU, but voters north of the Border want to stay in, just over half of Scots wanted a second independence referendum to be held. The poll also found in those circumstances there could be a slim majority in favour of leaving the UK.