Nicola Sturgeon is ‘in a muddle’ over Scottish independence, former SNP minister says

  • First Minister had vowed to treat the next UK election as an independence vote 
  • But yesterday SNP said it will give members two options at conference in March
  • Ms Sturgeon can use a good result at the next general election to pressure No 10
  • Or next Scottish election, due in 2026, would become a vote on independence

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of being ‘in a muddle’ over Scottish independence after backtracking on a pledge to turn the next general election into a de facto referendum.

Last year, the First Minister vowed to treat the next UK election as an independence vote if the Supreme Court ruled – which it did – that she couldn’t call a poll without Westminster’s consent.

But yesterday the SNP said it will give members two options at a conference in March. 

Either, Ms Sturgeon can use a good result at the next general election – which must be held by January 2025 – to pressure No 10 into letting her hold another referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the way to First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament earlier last week 

Or, the next Scottish election, due in 2026, would become a vote on independence, The Sunday Times reported.

The watered-down position was described as a ‘muddle’ by former SNP health minister Alex Neil.

He also branded the strategy ‘utterly confusing’.

Some in the party think a de facto referendum would be a ‘massive gamble’ that risked killing off the independence campaign for a generation.

They also fear it could cost the SNP its position as Scotland’s main party.

Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: ‘It’s plain for all to see that Nicola Sturgeon’s daft promise of a de facto referendum is in tatters.’

A referendum on Scottish independence from the UK was held in September 2014, with 55 per cent rejecting separation.  

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