Nicola Sturgeon: Public support for Scottish independence at "tipping point"

Public support for Scottish independence has reached a "tipping point", Nicola Sturgeon has said,  as she insisted that a referendum can still happen this year.

The SNP leader has predicted an "acceleration" in the shift towards independence seen in recent polls as she stepped up her demands for a second vote on leaving the UK in response to Brexit.

The Scottish Parliament recently backed a motion, pushed through by the SNP-Greens majority, which endorsed a second referendum. The last three polls in Scotland have shown a narrow majority of Scots now back leaving the UK, prompting the First Minister to suggest the political dynamic is changing.

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Nicola Sturgeon says a referendum can still happen this year

"Things have moved," Ms Sturgeon told the Sunday Times today.

"I get the feeling we're at something of a tipping point on this. Now that Brexit has happened we'll see an acceleration of that shift."

The UK Government has control over constitutional issues in the UK and Boris Johnson has ruled out a Section 30 order which would allow the transfer of power to Holyrood for a referendum to take place. But the SNP leader insisted that the Tory leader may change his position and allow a vote within her preferred timescale of this year.""A referendum can absolutely happen this year," she added."Let's see what happens over the next few weeks."She added: "What I think is mad to be honest is a Prime Minister who denies democracy. He is a democracy denier. And while I can be impatient, I know that how he is behaving will ultimately drive people towards the independence cause.

"Boris Johnson is one of the biggest recruiting sergeants for independence there is at the moment."

Ms Sturgeon has also repeated her warning that she could be ready to go court to test whether Holyrood may have the ability to stage a consultative referendum without Westminster.

But the First Minister's comments prompted a withering response from Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union.“Nicola Sturgeon is in denial," Ms Nash said.

"The people of Scotland don’t want a divisive second independence referendum this year.

“This is just yet another attempt by the First Minister to divert attention from her catastrophic failings in office, with hospitals in crisis, education standards plummeting, and transport projects in chaos. Scotland deserves better.

“Stripping public services of money for a legal battle over an unwanted and unofficial referendum on leaving the UK would be unforgiveable.“We are stronger together as part of the UK.”