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‘Keep the monarchy’ if you want Scottish independence

Working members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the platinum jubilee
Working members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the platinum jubilee

Nicola Sturgeon is being told to keep the monarchy if she wants to win an independence referendum.

Celebrations are being held across Scotland for the Queen’s platinum jubilee to mark 70 years on the throne.

But the landmark event brought one question into sharp focus: is it time for Scotland, and the rest of the UK, to scrap the monarchy?

One political party in Scotland definitely seems to think so.

Scottish Green MSPs walked out of a jubilee tribute at the Scottish Parliament earlier this week.

Those who want independence and want to get rid of the monarchy will vote Yes anyway.

– Sir John Curtice

Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice warns if the SNP want to win a future independence referendum, they need to say they will keep the monarchy because more are in favour of the Queen.

Majority of Yes supporters want republic

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland Sir John said: “If Scotland is going to win a referendum on independence they will have to appeal to the broadest possible constituency.

“It is clear the support for the monarchy amongst Scots in general is more popular than support for a republic.

“But that is not true amongst Yes supporters.

Professor Sir John Curtice

“Nicola Sturgeon’s job, given the polls say that probably less than 50% are in favour of independence, is to grow that support and she won’t make life any easier by saying a consequence of independence is the monarchy would go.

“She needs to go for the broadest constituency as possible and not simply appeal to her base.

“Those who want independence and want to get rid of the monarchy will vote Yes anyway.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to focus on those who are uncertain, unclear and not entirely happy with the state of the UK who probably still want Scotland to retain the monarchy.”

Support for the monarchy in Scotland

Around half to two thirds of Yes voters would want an independent Scotland to become a republic.

On the other hand, two thirds to three quarters of No voters support the monarchy.

The most recent polling shows people in England and Wales are much more likely to support the monarchy than those north of the border.

But monarchy support in Scotland still sits at 45%, compared to just 36% in favour of a republic.

HM Queen Elizabeth II meeting Scottish party leaders Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvie and Willie Rennie back in 2016

However the monarchy is less popular than it was a decade ago when support across the UK was almost 70%.

And on the whole support for the monarchy across the UK is much less popular in those under the age of 35, meaning support will continue to fall over time unless people change their minds as they get older.

Sir John added: “The royal family will be hoping these celebrations will help to cement their support.

“But those who journey to The Mall to see the Trooping of the Colour and those hanging around St Paul’s Cathedral are those who are keen on the monarchy.

“Those who are not are finding something else to do with this extra bank holiday.”

Sturgeon: ‘I have deep respect for her’

Nicola Sturgeon herself has said being able to spent time alone in private with The Queen was one of the great privileges of being first minister.

She said: “I like her a lot – I have deep respect for her as many people do.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with HM Queen Elizabeth II

“The context of those conversations are rightly by convention completely private and confidential and I won’t breach that.

“But I think it is fair to say that opportunity to talk with her, to benefit from her knowledge, her wisdom and perhaps above all the completely unique perspective she has on modern world history, is something that I deeply value and will always really treasure.”

She added it was SNP policy for an independent Scotland “to remain as part of the Commonwealth with the Queen and her successors as head of state” but added the jubilee was not the time to discuss the issue.

The Queen’s relationships with her 14 prime ministers

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