Nicola Sturgeon backs SNP’s new independence strategy
Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP’s strategy for independence has her “full, unequivocal support”.
Delegates backed Humza Yousaf’s new plan yesterday which will see the party attempt to open negotiations with the next UK Government to hold a referendum if it wins the most Scottish seats at the general election.
Sturgeon had previously backed using the next election as a “de facto referendum”.
Attending conference on Monday, the former first minister said: “One of the reasons I took the decision to step down was that I believed I’d given it my all on moving the country to independence but that I had taken it as far as I could.
“I think in those circumstances it was right – that was my objective – that the party took the time to consider the way forward it wanted to adopt.
“It did that yesterday, it did that unanimously as far as I could see, and that position has my full, unequivocal support.”
Yousaf’s joint motion with Westminster leader Stephen Flynn was agreed in an amended form by the party membership in Aberdeen.
The party’s manifesto for the next election win put Scottish independence “page one, line one” and the resolution committed the party to launching a Scotland-wide Yes campaign by the end of the year.
It also backed the devolution of powers over employment and windfall taxation.
Sturgeon denied that her appearance at conference threatened to overshadow Yousaf. She said she had been “watching from afar” and he is “doing a fantastic job”. She added: “I don’t think there is any doubt from what I’ve seen who is in charge.”
Asked about the outcome of the Rutherglen by-election – which the SNP lost with a 20 per cent swing to Labour – Sturgeon said: “What the party is doing and needs to do is remember and remind people why we won so many elections in the past almost 20 years.”
And responding to criticism from Joanna Cherry MP, who yesterday welcomed the discussion on the independence strategy claiming the party has previously shutdown open debate, Sturgeon said: “I’ve always been somebody that takes criticism on board, argues my case, will continue to argue my case. My record as SNP leader speakers for itself; it’s for other people to judge that.”