Nicola Sturgeon: Options are 'limited' for securing a second independence referendum
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted her options for obtaining a second independence referendum are “limited”.
Sturgeon, in Aberdeen for the SNP party conference, said using the next general election as a de facto referendum was a “last resort”.
This week, the Supreme Court will hear a referral from Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain on whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate for an independence referendum.
If the case fails, the first minister has said her party will use the next general election as a de facto referendum.
Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC, she said using the general election as a plebiscite on independence was not her “preference”.
She said: “That’s not my preference – that’s not what I want to happen.
“If democracy is blocked, if the route by which it would be right to consider this issue – which is a lawful, constitutional referendum – is blocked by Westminster because they fear the democratic choice of the people of Scotland, then for me, and for the people of Scotland, the choice is simple: we put our case in an election or we give up on Scottish democracy. I will never, ever give up on Scottish democracy.”
The first minister was asked why she had previously rejected the strategy of a de facto referendum, once describing it as a “Unionist trap”.
She said: “It should be a last resort. I don’t want to be in that position; I want to have a lawful referendum.
Asked whether she was “running out of road,” Sturgeon said: “If my options are limited, which obviously is the case to some extent, then that is because Scotland is in a system that simply will not respect Scottish democracy…
“If our options are limited, it’s because a Westminster system refuses Scottish democracy. I have to say, that then is one of the most powerful arguments for being an independent country.”
Asked whether she would prefer Keir Starmer or Liz Truss to be the prime minister after the next general election, Sturgeon said: “That’s not a difficult question. If the question is whether I would prefer a Labour government over a Tory government, I detest the Tories and everything they stand for, so it’s not difficult to answer that question.”