January 28, 2023

The SNP is calling on the Prime Minister to outline how Scotland can hold another independence referendum.

The party’s new deputy Westminster leader, Mhairi Black, has written to Rishi Sunak to say he must “show leadership” on the issue.

Mrs Black – who assumed her role earlier this week – pointed to her SNP colleague Philippa Whitford, who asked about the options during the prime minister’s questions.

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Mr Sunak had responded by saying he “fully respected” the decision of the Supreme Court, which ruled last month. Permission from the British government was needed to call a new ballot.

But Ms Black also pointed to the words of cabinet ministers Alister Jack and Michael Gove, who have previously admitted that there could be another referendum if there was support for it in Scotland.

She wrote: “This time, instead of hiding helplessly behind the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister was able to show real leadership and outline exactly how Scotland can choose to exercise its democratic right in this so-called ‘voluntary union’.

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“However, the Prime Minister should have no doubt that for every day that democracy is denied in Scotland, our case will grow stronger.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP and the First Minister of Scotland, has said her party will use the next election as an informal referendum.

But its critics have warned this would have no legal validity, urging the SNP to “set aside divisive constitutional issues”.

SNP MP Mhairi Black
Mhairi Black of the SNP

A spokeswoman for the UK government said Scotland’s people want their leaders to “focus on the things that matter most to them, such as growing our economy, giving people the help they need with their energy bills and supporting of our NHS”.

They added: “As the Prime Minister has been clear, we will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government to address our shared challenges.”

Scotland held an independence referendum in 2014 and just over 55% voted to remain with the UK.

But the pro-independence SNP, which has led the country since 2007, believes it has a mandate to hold a new vote due to continued election success – the majority of members of the Scottish Parliament support independence – and because of the change in circumstances since Brexit.

An Ipsos Scotland poll released this week found 56% of determined voters supported independence, while 53% of people said they would vote for the SNP in the next general election if it were to be a de facto referendum. are used.

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