SNP chief warns Sturgeon ready to bypass London to hold new independence referendum

Scotland ‘requires independence’ says SNP’s Michael Russell

SNP President Michael Russell was strongly against Westminster denying the “democratic wish” of the Scottish electorate and admitted he would be happy to circumvent the British Government to achieve independence. Mr Russell added Scotland was eager for another referendum in light of a recent Sunday Times poll which found 52 percent wanted the vote. His comments came in support of party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who said she would pursue a referendum in May regardless of London’s approval.

Speaking on Channel 4, the SNP President said: “At some stage, people are going to ask how are we going to build back and who shall lead us in that task and I think the people of Scotland need to know that the offering is clear.

“Either you want Boris Johnson to lead Scotland back from the pandemic, which I don’t think people do, or you want the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon and that requires independence.”

Reporter Fatima Manji then asked Mr Russell: “The problem you got though is that the Westminster Government and Boris Johnson have been clear that they’re not going to be granting the right for a referendum any time soon, what will you then do?”

The MSP responded: “In my view, that is the problem with the Westminster Government, not the Scottish Government. 

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“It can choose to deny the democratic wish of the people of Scotland by attempting legal action.”

Nicola Sturgeon announced on the Andrew Marr Show last Sunday that she would be seeking a “legal referendum” regardless of approval from Boris Johnson.

Ms Sturgeon added Mr Johnson was “frightened of democracy”.

The Scottish First Minister told Andrew Marr: “If they (Scotland) give me that authority, that’s what I intend to do, have a legal referendum, give people in Scotland the right to chose.

“That’s democracy, it’s not about what I want or what Boris Johnson wants.”

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The Prime Minister has commented before that there should be a 40-year gap between Scottish referendums.

But MSPs are not united in their support for independence with Scottish Labour leader candidate Anas Sarwar warning it is not the right time.

Mr Sarwar said: “I think the challenge is I don’t think its right for Scottish politicians, especially the Scottish Labour party, to try and find a position that’s about finding a political fix.

“I don’t believe an independence referendum in the coming years is the right thing for us to do.”

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Under the Scotland Act 1998, the Scottish Parliament can not pass legislation relating to the “the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England”.

The last Scottish independence referendum was held in 2014 with 55 percent of Scots voting no with an 85 percent turnout. 

In the Brexit referendum, Scotland overall voted strongly to remain which revived the issue of independence. 

Around 62 percent of Scotland voted to remain in the EU.

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