Sturgeon: Independence referendum mandate ‘unarguable’

Scotland’s First Minister has said the mandate for a new independence referendum is unarguable as she stakes her claim for the transfer of powers needed to hold another vote.

On Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to publish a paper – called Scotland’s Right to Choose – which will put forward the “clear democratic case” for a Section 30 order from the UK Government.

The release of the paper comes as the Prime Minister is due to make his Queen’s Speech on Thursday, laying out his legislative agenda.

Meanwhile, the Referendums (Scotland) Bill, which will lay out parameters for future plebiscites, is expected to pass at Holyrood on the same day.

General Election 2019
General Election 2019

The First Minister has repeatedly said her party’s win in Scotland in last week’s General Election – with the SNP delivering 47 MPs – is a mandate from the Scottish people for “putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.

Last week’s victory was the third in succession for the SNP after majorities in Scotland in 2015 and 2017.

She said: “There is a clear mandate for this nation to have the power to decide its own future.

“The result of last week’s General Election makes that mandate unarguable.

“So, with the publication of this document, we lay out the detailed case for putting Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands.”

She added: “We will take forward work to update the detailed and substantive case for independence.

“But whatever people’s views on the issue of independence itself, there is a wide and growing consensus that Scotland must be able to choose its own future.

“Now that the election is over, and the result so overwhelmingly clear, I believe that consensus is growing by the day.

“And let me be clear, the demand for this country to have the right to determine its own path comes not just from me as First Minister – it flows from the people of Scotland and the verdict they delivered last week.”

Ms Sturgeon said she would push for a “legitimate” vote.

“The Scottish Government believes that right should be exercised free from the threat of legal challenge,” she said.

“We understand that a referendum must be accepted as legitimate, here in Scotland and the UK, as well as in the EU and the wider international community.”

Independence supporters said in 2014 that another vote should only be held if there is a “material change” in the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK, such as leaving the EU without a majority in favour in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “There is no doubt whatsoever there has been a material change in circumstances since 2014.

“Today I urge people in Scotland to rally round the case for Scotland’s right to choose – our right to self-determination.

“It is not the time for Scotland to give up on reasoned and democratic argument but to pursue it ever more confidently.”

The First Minister has repeatedly said she will send a request for a Section 30 order – which will allow for the power to hold another referendum to be devolved to Scotland – before the end of the year, however, it is unclear when she plans to make the request.

In recent days, leading figures in the Scottish Labour Party have indicated their support for another referendum, with the First Minister calling for unity on the subject at Holyrood on Tuesday.