Nicola Sturgeon is to demand the power to stage a second Scottish independence referendum just days after December’s general election – with the First Minister saying she believes Jeremy Corbyn will agree to grant it.
The SNP leader said she wants Scots to “demonstrate the desire” for independence by voting for her party, adding that opposition to another referendum is not sustainable.
When asked at an election rally in Leith, Edinburgh, whether she believes Labour would grant a Section 30 Order to enable a vote on Scottish independence, Ms Sturgeon answered emphatically: “Yes.”
Explaining her confidence, she added: “I’m a believer in the power of democracy.”
If people in Scotland demonstrate the desire – as I believe they will in this election – for an independence referendum, then I don’t believe Westminster opposition to the principle or to the timetable to that will prove to be sustainable
She said she would interpret a strong SNP result at the election as an endorsement for another referendum, and urged “savvy” voters to back her party “to make sure Scotland’s voice is heard” – even if they are in favour of the union.
“If people in Scotland demonstrate the desire – as I believe they will in this election – for an independence referendum, then I don’t believe Westminster opposition to the principle or to the timetable to that will prove to be sustainable,” she said.
“Everybody knows there’s going to be an independence referendum. The opposition parties might not have got round to conceding that point in public, but they know it and everybody knows it.”
While Ms Sturgeon has held talks with Mr Corbyn recently, she revealed they did not discuss the issue of independence.
“The discussions I’ve had with Jeremy Corbyn over recent months have been understandably about Brexit and the tactics in the House of Commons,” she said.
“I met with him last week – that was the most recent occasion – and that was about Brexit and the prospects, as they were then, of an election.
“I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is under any illusions, though, about my position around independence and a referendum.”
Claiming that there is a “huge appetite” for both a second Brexit and Scottish referendum in 2020, Ms Sturgeon said she would send a letter “before Christmas” to whoever is in 10 Downing Street requesting powers under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to grant the Scottish Parliament powers to hold another vote.
Ms Sturgeon also warned of a future where “you’ll have Nigel Farage and Donald Trump pulling Boris Johnson’s strings”, following the US president’s comments that Mr Johnson and the Brexit Party leader working together would be “unstoppable”.
She added: “A Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson coalition would be scary, I know Halloween was yesterday, but it’s the kind of Halloween monster that no one in Scotland wants to see.
“But whether there’s a formal deal between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage or not, everybody knows that the Tory Party is currently morphing into the Brexit Party and that’s the future unless Scotland positively and actively chooses an alternative, votes to escape the Brexit horror show and instead puts our future into our own hands.”