Nicola Sturgeon will today announce more details of the Scottish Government’s plan to stage a second independence referendum next year.
The First Minister will make a statement at Holyrood this afternoon in which she will argue the SNP’s 2021 election win provided a clear mandate to hold another poll on the constitution.
But Sturgeon will face questions on how a legally-binding referendum can take place without the prior agreement of the UK Government.
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Boris Johnson has argued the result of the 2014 vote should be respected – while opposition leaders at Holyrood have called on the SNP to focus on tackling the cost of living crisis.
Speaking ahead of her Holyrood statement, Sturgeon insisted the “democratic will” of Scots must be respected.
She said: “The people of Scotland have elected a Parliament committed to giving them a choice on independence, and so that democratic will must be respected.
“In Scotland, it is the people who are and have always been sovereign – and it is the people’s will which must prevail.
“That may be an inconvenient truth for our political opponents, but it is a simple and unavoidable truth nonetheless.
“Continued attempts to block that democratic will only weaken the UK Government’s standing, here and internationally.
“Bluntly, the UK Government is in no position to read any other country about the need to respect democratic norms if it is intent on trying to thwart democracy at home.”
But Anas Sarwar accused the SNP of “trying to drag Scotland back to the politics of the past”.
The Scottish Labor leader said: “The SNP are trying to drag Scotland back to the politics of the past instead of dealing with the challenges of the present.
“It is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon is ramping up her efforts to sow division and strife when we see the chaos in her party and the failures of her government.
“She says to listen to the people of Scotland – but she refuses to herself, forging ahead with an unwanted referendum and ignoring people’s desperate cries for help with the cost of living crisis.
“Right now people across Scotland are struggling to put food on the table as spiral bills; one in eight Scots is stuck on a waiting list as our NHS buckles under pressure, and public transport is in chaos.
“Instead of dealing with these issues, we have two governments feeding off one another and trying to tear communities apart for political gain – but you cannot play politics while people’s lives and livelihoods are in the balance.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Lib Dem leader, said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s desire to break up the UK is out of touch, obsessive and desperate.
“She is neglecting everyone who is worried about paying the bills or the sharp spike in Covid infections.
“It’s a kick in the teeth for health staff, the hundreds of thousands of people on NHS waiting lists and anyone who believed the First Minister when she said education was the top priority.”
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