Scottish Government planning indyref2 for October 2023, Angus Robertson says

- Advertisement -

The Scottish Government plans to hold a second independence referendum in October next year, the Constitution Secretary has said.

However, at the same time as Angus Robertson revealed the possible time for the crunch vote, a former adviser to both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon cast doubt on whether it could be delivered by then.

Campbell Gunn, who was a special adviser to Mr Salmond and then Ms Sturgeon, said that the “timescale is very difficult”.

“I just don’t see the timescale working for the SNP.”

His comments came after Mr Robertson told the same programme the Scottish Government intends holding the referendum in October of next year – going further on the timing than Ms Sturgeon, who has only said she wants the ballot to be held before the end of 2023.

Ahead of such a vote, the Scottish First Minister launched the first paper in a series of documents from the Scottish Government designed at updating the case for independence.

While she did not say how she planned for a referendum to be held if Westminster continues to refuse to grant permission for such a vote via a section 30 order, the SNP leader promised a “significant” announcement on this soon.

Nicola Sturgeon promised on update on how she will progress plans to hold a referendum ‘very soon’ (Russell Cheyne/PA)

While the UK Government granted a section 30 order prior to the 2014 referendum, allowing a legally-binding vote to be held, Boris Johnson has been clear he will not so the same this time round.

This resulted in the Scottish Constitution Secretary accusing him of “democracy denial” as he argued such an order – which would temporarily transfer powers to Holyrood to allow a referendum to take place – was the “gold standard”.

Mr Robertson insisted: “I see no reason for the UK Government to deny a section 30 order.

“This is the procedure that was agreed in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, the gold standard of holding a recognised, agreed, constitutional referendum.”

Boris Johnson has been clear he will not sanction a second referendum on Scottish independence (Jacob King/PA)

He added: “We’re in the territory of democracy denial when I hear things like that.”

The SNP won the 2021 Holyrood election after making a promise to hold another referendum once the Covid crisis had abated in its manifesto.

“Surely all of us involved in politics agree that when the people vote for something to happen in this country, it is what should happen,” Mr Robertson said.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“Scottish politics has a long history of UK governments going ‘no, no, no, yes’. That is what happened in the run-up to the referendum in 2014 and I still think we should work on the basis of the gold standard of democracy.”

He also denied suggestions the Scottish Government’s timetable for a second referendum was unrealistic.

Mr Robertson stated: “I am fully content with the prospectus beginning to be rolled out, with the announcements that will follow on the route map, about how that is going to be achieved, that we have a perfectly adequate window of opportunity both for legislation to be passed, for the opportunity for the people to scrutinise the prospectus the Scottish Government will publish and also hold opponents to account.”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy MSP accused the SNP of “ramping up their push for another divisive referendum”.

Sarah Boyack
Sarah Boyack described Angus Robertson’s comments as ‘pie in the sky’ (Lesley Martin/PA)

“The SNP are distracted by their obsession with independence once again. They’re focusing on the wrong priorities and setting back Scotland’s economy and public services as a result.”

He went on to state it was “a shameful dereliction of duty by the SNP government to focus on holding a referendum that the vast majority of Scottish people don’t want”.

Sarah Boyack, Labour’s constitution spokeswoman at Holyrood, claimed talk of a referendum next October was “nothing more than pie in the sky posturing from Angus Robertson”.

Ms Boyack said: “Thousands of Scots are facing the choice between heating and eating, and the best that this SNP government can do is pluck dates out of a hat for another divisive referendum.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.