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by Jenni Davidson
16 April 2021
Nicola Sturgeon does not intend to hold referendum on EU membership if Scotland becomes independent

Nicola Sturgeon launching the SNP manifesto - Image credit: Alamy

Nicola Sturgeon does not intend to hold referendum on EU membership if Scotland becomes independent

Nicola Sturgeon has said she does not plan to hold a referendum on EU membership if Scotland becomes independent.

It would be assumed that Scots want an independent Scotland to join the EU, effectively making indyref2 a double referendum, with a vote for independence taken as a vote in favour of EU membership as well.

Speaking at a media briefing following the SNP manifesto launch, the SNP leader said holding another referendum on EU membership was “not my policy”.

In terms of timing for Scotland re-joining the EU, Sturgeon said she would begin discussions with the EU around the time of any independence vote.

She said she was not “going to put a numbers of years on that right now” on the time it would take for an independent Scotland to become a member, but there were “many voices” who did not think it would be a lengthy period.

The SNP had supported a second referendum on Brexit before the UK left the EU, but Sturgeon said this was because people did not know what they were voting for at the time of the Brexit referendum and that would not be the case in an independence referendum.

She said: “One of the reasons why I thought a second EU referendum became something that could be justified was that the implementation of the Brexit vote was a disaster.

“And that all stemmed from the fact that people were asked to vote in that Brexit referendum without really knowing what Brexit meant, without knowing what form of relationship with the EU would replace membership for the UK.

“And that's why nobody then could find a way of implementing it safely and effectively.

“I don't intend that to be the case with independence.

“Just as in 2014 people had a detailed prospectus on which to base their vote, that's my intention in a future independence referendum too, and that will involve frank answers about all of the questions people have, including what we see as the journey back to European Union membership.”

Challenged on the fact that that it could be 10 years after the Brexit referendum when Scotland became independent and people might have changed their minds by that point, Sturgeon said she could not foresee public opinion in Scotland changing “because it hasn't changed in the years since the Brexit referendum”.

“If anything, Scotland is stronger in its view,” she added.

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