Nicola Votes NO; STURGEON WON'T CONFIRM INDYREF2.. YET FM Set to Put off Green Light for Poll at Conference as Council Elections Loom

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), March 12, 2017 | Go to article overview

Nicola Votes NO; STURGEON WON'T CONFIRM INDYREF2.. YET FM Set to Put off Green Light for Poll at Conference as Council Elections Loom


Byline: | David Clegg

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to stop short of demanding a second referendum on independence at her party conference this week.

There has been fevered speculation the First Minister will use her keynote speech on Saturday to make a definitive request for a repeat vote in the wake of Brexit.

But SNP strategists feel the party conference is not the appropriate platform for such an announcement.

They want any move for another referendum to be seen as Sturgeon acting in Scotland's interests rather than for party political reasons.

A source said: "If we are to make that announcement, it would have to be done in a situation where Nicola is addressing the country as First Minister. To do it at the SNP conference would make it look like she is a party leader telling the members what they want to hear."

Any announcement on a referendum is more likely to be made in the Scottish Parliament chamber or at Bute House, the FM's official residence in Edinburgh.

The prospect of another independence vote has loomed over Scottish politics since the Brexit referendum last June, when Scots voted to remain in the EU but were overruled by results in the rest of the UK.

The official Scottish Government position is that no decision has been made on calling another referendum.

But senior SNP figures have privately conceded that it is almost certain Sturgeon will call for a repeat vote in the coming months.

The exact timing of any announcement is up in the air and will depend on when Theresa May formally starts the process of leaving the EU.

The legislation for triggering Article 50 is expected to pass Westminster tomorrow but it is still not clear if May will press ahead straight away.

A delay would mean more wriggle room for Sturgeon's conference speech, which could instead include a demand for the power over holding an indy referendum to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament. …

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