Sturgeon to issue update on independence plans within days

Nicola Sturgeon will issue an update on her next steps for independence within days after the Prime Minister’s refusal to allow a second referendum.

A spokesman for the First Minister confirmed she will set out the Scottish Government’s plans next week.

The SNP leader wrote to Boris Johnson days after his victory in last month’s general election, claiming there was a “democratic case” for a fresh vote on the constitution.

UK-Africa Investment Summit
UK-Africa Investment Summit

But her call for the powers to hold such a vote to be transferred to Holyrood was flatly rejected by Mr Johnson, who claimed in a letter last week that a second ballot on independence would lead to continued “political stagnation” in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon, who has previously refused to rule out legal action in a bid to force a second independence vote, said then that the Scottish Government would set out the next steps it will take before the end of January.

The SNP leader has previously said she wants to hold a referendum on Scotland’s place in the UK in the latter part of 2020.

Some figures in the SNP have expressed doubts a ballot will take place this year, with former Scottish justice secretary and East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskilll saying the likelihood of this in the short-term is “slim” and “more likely nil”.

A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said: “The FM will seek to update before the end of the month, as she indicated.”

He said ministers were still “committed” to holding a referendum this year, saying this position had been “endorsed” by voters in the 2019 general election, when the SNP won 47 of the 59 seats up for grabs in Scotland.

The spokesman confirmed: “It will be an update following the Prime Minister’s reply to the First Minister, which was delivered this time last week.

“It will be an update from our side on how we intend to move things forward in light of that reply.”