Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Nicola Sturgeon: Indyref2 date ‘very likely’ to be in SNP manifesto

The preferred date for indyref2 is “very likely” to be included in the SNP manifesto for next year’s Holyrood elections, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The SNP leader dismissed calls from within her own party to outline a plan B route to independence if Westminster continues to block a new ballot, insisting separation “has to be a view that is expressed through a legal referendum”.

Speaking ahead of her speech on the final day of the SNP conference, Ms Sturgeon said the issue of whether Westminster would have to agree to a new referendum had never been tested in court and she would not rule out that happening in the future.

Nicola Sturgeon indyref2
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Asked on BBC Good Morning Scotland whether a referendum date would be included in the manifesto, she said: “Very likely, yes.

“The reason I’m not doing that right now is, I think, pretty obvious to everybody. We’re still in a global pandemic right now, the immediate future is uncertain. We’re more hopeful that vaccines will get us out of it but there’s no certainty yet.

“We just published legislation not that long ago with contingencies for what might have to happen to the Holyrood election if Covid was to get in the way, so there is a lot of uncertainty, and my focus and energy right has to be on steering the country through.

Nicola Sturgeon indyref2
Scottish independence supporters march through Edinburgh during an All Under One Banner march.

“But if we’re in a position by the time we get to our manifesto where we can give more clarity about that, then yes, that is something that I would hope you’ll see there.”

An alternative route

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly faced pressure from leading figures within her own party, including MP Joanna Cherry, to outline an alternative route to independence if the UK Government refuses to hand over the powers needed for a new vote.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

But the SNP leader insisted a referendum is “what has to happen” to show majority support and “demonstrate to the international community that it is something they should recognise”.

“The point about whether the Westminster government has to agree to that, as we all agreed to in 2014, that’s never been tested in court,” Ms Sturgeon said. “And I hope it never has to be tested in court but I don’t rule anything like that out.”

One option that has been discussed is whether the SNP could look to declare independence on the strength of winning a majority of Scottish seats in any future election, something that was formally official party policy.

Professor Sir John Curtice.

In an exclusive interview in September, polling expert Sir John Curtice outlined how the 2024 General Election could be used as a de facto independence referendum if Westminster rejects calls for a new vote from an SNP majority government next year.

But Ms Sturgeon ruled it out as an option and warned Westminster would be no more willing to accept an election mandate for independence.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomes Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside Bute House in Edinburgh.

“What do you think they would do then?” she asked. “Do you think they’re just going to say, well okay we won’t accept the election result in favour of a referendum but we’ll accept it in favour of independence? There’s a bit of a logical flaw there.

“Democracy is what we need to put our faith in here. Boris Johnson, his pal across the Atlantic, Donald Trump, is showing what happens to leaders who try to stem the tide of democracy – they get swept away.

“So my message to my party is, let’s continue to make the case for independence, make the case for the people to decide, and have faith in the power of people to make democratic change.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]