Sturgeon sets out date for proposed second Scottish independence referendum next year

28 June 2022, 14:41 | Updated: 28 June 2022, 16:26

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today that an independent Scotland would be better off and that she hopes the Conservative government lose the next election.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today that an independent Scotland would be better off and that she hopes the Conservative government lose the next election. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Lauren Lewis

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today set out a date for a proposed second independence referendum next October.

Ms Sturgeon, speaking at Holyrood today, said she wants to hold a consultative independence referendum on 19th October 2023 as she slammed Boris Johnson's government for "ripping us out" of the European Union and creating a cost of living crisis.

The First Minister said the Tory party "deserved" to lose the next election and warned that the Labour party is more of a "pale imitation" than a "real alternative" while also dismissing the Liberal Democrats.

She claimed Scotland would be "better off" as an independent state and said Scots must be permitted to have "the democratic choice they have voted for" in a second vote on independence.

The First Minister and SNP leader set out a "route map" for a second referendum based on the same framework as in 2014 and using the same question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

She added that she would be writing to Mr Johnson to inform him of her plans and that she was "ready and willing" to negotiate the terms of a Section 30 order with him, which would give Holyrood the power to hold a consultative referendum.

But with the Prime Minister having repeatedly refused her calls for another referendum to be held, Ms Sturgeon added "What I am not willing to do, what I will never do is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister."

The First Minister stated: "My determination is to secure a process that allows the people of Scotland, whether yes, no or yet to be decided, to express their views in a legal, constitutional referendum so the majority view can be established fairly and democratically.

"The steps I am setting out today seek to achieve that."

Ms Sturgeon (pictured ahead of her speech at Holyrood today) said she wants to hold an independence referendum on 19th October 2023 as she slammed Boris Johnson's government for "ripping us out" of the European Union and creating a cost of living crisis.
Ms Sturgeon (pictured ahead of her speech at Holyrood today) said she wants to hold an independence referendum on 19th October 2023 as she slammed Boris Johnson's government for "ripping us out" of the European Union and creating a cost of living crisis. Picture: Getty

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Ms Sturgeon said it was a "matter of principle" that any referendum would be a legal ballot.

Outlining her bid to have an "indisputably legal referendum" she told MSPs at Holyrood: "The Scottish Government is today publishing the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill."

She said the vote would be held "to ascertain the views of the people of Scotland as to whether or not Scotland should be an independent country."

She said this would be a consultative referendum as the vote on Brexit was in 2016.

As a result she explained a majority vote would not by itself make Scotland independent, adding: "For Scotland to become independent following a yes vote, legislation would have to be passed by the UK and Scottish Parliaments."

She is set to become the longest serving First Minister of Scotland this year.

She took up the post in November 2014 after Alex Salmond stood down after losing the independence referendum held that year.

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Mr Johnson said ahead of the speech he would "look forward" to hearing what Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has to say about Scottish independence, but that the UK is "stronger working together".

Speaking in Germany on the final day of the G7 summit, Mr Johnson said: "Of course we'll see what she has to say and look forward to that.

"I think the important point to make is that we think the number one priority for the country is the economic pressures, the spikes in the cost of energy.

"Our plan for a stronger economy certainly means that we think that we're stronger working together but we have good relations with the Scottish Government.

"We'll see what she has to say."

Mr Johnson, speaking in Germany on the final day of the G7 summit, said ahead of the speech he would "look forward" to hearing what Sturgeon has to say about Scottish independence, but that the UK is "stronger working together".
Mr Johnson, speaking in Germany on the final day of the G7 summit, said ahead of the speech he would "look forward" to hearing what Sturgeon has to say about Scottish independence, but that the UK is "stronger working together". Picture: Alamy

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Ms Sturgeon said in April that she would "make way" as First Minister should she lose a second independence referendum, if it is ever held.

Appearing on the ITV show Loose Women, she was put on the spot by panellist Carol McGiffin when asked about life beyond politics.

Describing her as not being a quitter, the presenter challenged her: "If you get a referendum on independence and lose that one would you give up?"

Ms Sturgeon replied: "I'm not going to engage in the hypotheticals of that."Pushed to answer "yes or no", she added: "I think when Scotland next votes on independence it will vote yes."

Ms McGiffin pressed again: "But if it doesn't will you give it up?"

Ms Sturgeon added: "I suspect I will make way for someone else but I'm not contemplating that at the moment.

"I'm in the fortunate position I guess of having been in politics a long time and I'm not about to give it up, but when I do I will helpfully be relatively young and look forward to doing things later in life."

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