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by Louise Wilson
15 June 2022
Scottish independence: Government planning referendum for October 2023

Scottish independence: Government planning referendum for October 2023

The Scottish Government intends to hold a second referendum on independence in October 2023, Angus Robertson has said.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland earlier, the constitution secretary confirmed the government would shortly publish a route map for holding that referendum.

It follows Nicola Sturgeon yesterday launching a paper titled Independence in the modern world. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland?

That is expected to be the first in a series of papers from the government that together will create a fresh prospectus for Scottish independence.

Previously, the Scottish Government has only said it planned to hold a referendum by the end of 2023.

Robertson said: “The First Minister made clear yesterday that she intends to make an announcement to the Scottish Parliament in the forthcoming weeks about the route map towards the referendum which we intend to hold next October.”

The cabinet secretary would not be drawn on whether the Scottish Government would press ahead without a Section 30 order. He said the UK Government refusing to grant another would be “democracy denial”.

Section 30, part of the Scotland Act, allows Holyrood to legislate in areas normally reserved to Westminster. One was granted by the UK Government before the 2014 referendum.

Robertson said: “I’m not going to get into the speculation of what happens a number of steps down the road. We still have the opportunity to secure a section 30 order. […] I still think we should work on the basis of the gold standard of democracy, which is that we surely, all of us involved in politics, agree that when the people vote for something to happen in this country, it’s what should happen.”

“We have an agreed route, we have a precedent, we’ve been able to do this before, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do this again,” he added.

Yesterday’s paper, described as a “scene setter”, is to be followed by papers on currency, pensions, EU membership, and defence/security.

Scottish Conservative chair Craig Hoy MSP said: "Nicola Sturgeon has come close to endorsing a plan to push ahead with an illegal vote and Angus Robertson doubled down on that today.

"This reckless push for another referendum will damage Scotland when all the focus should be on Covid recovery and the global cost-of-living crisis."

Labour's constitutional spokesperson Sarah Boyack said: "This is nothing more than pie in the sky posturing from Angus Robertson. 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."

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