Sturgeon: Democratic will on second independence referendum must be respected
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on the UK Government to respect the “democratic will” of the Scottish people on the matter of a second independence referendum.
Sturgeon will address Holyrood later as she sets out further detail of how she intends to hold a referendum next year.
But speaking in advance of that statement, the First Minister said the “people’s will must prevail”.
She said: “The people of Scotland have elected a parliament committed to giving them a choice on independence, and so that democratic will must be respected.
“In Scotland, it is the people who are and have always been sovereign – and it is the people’s will which must prevail.”
She said attempts to “block” the vote would “weaken the UK Government’s standing, here and internationally”.
She added: “Bluntly, the UK Government is in no position to lecture any other country about the need to respect democratic norms if it is intent on trying to thwart democracy at home.
“And, because we live in a democracy where election results still matter, continued efforts to thwart the will of the people must – and will – fail.
“The UK is either a partnership of consent or it is not a partnership worthy of the name. Westminster rule over Scotland cannot be based on anything other than a consented, voluntary partnership.
“It is time to give people the democratic choice they have voted for, and then with independence to build a more prosperous, fairer country in a true partnership of equals between Scotland and our friends in the rest of the UK.”
Her comments came as campaign group Scotland In Union revealed that 20 civil servants are working on the case for independence at an annual cost of £1.2m to the taxpayer.
Meanwhile, former First Minister Alex Salmond called for more clarity on the route to a second referendum, saying, “the first question on independence is not its desirability but it’s achievability.”
Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar said: “The SNP are trying to drag Scotland back to the politics of the past instead of dealing with the challenges of the present.
“It is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon is ramping up her efforts to sow division and strife when we see the chaos in her party and the failures of her government.
“She says to listen to the people of Scotland – but she refuses to herself, forging ahead with an unwanted referendum and ignoring people’s desperate cries for help with the cost of living crisis.”
Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s desire to break up the UK is out of touch, obsessive and desperate.
“Nicola Sturgeon is neglecting everyone who is worried about paying the bills or the sharp spike in Covid infections. It’s a kick in the teeth for health staff, the hundreds of thousands of people on NHS waiting lists and anyone who believed the First Minister when she said education was the top priority.
“Breaking up the UK is not the solution to these problems. Her obsession with breaking up the UK is a big part of the problem.”