Sturgeon: ‘Soft Brexit’ could shelve second independence vote

Fifty-five per cent of Scots want to save the union, says latest polling

 

A soft Brexit could take the prospect of Scottish independence off the table in the short term. That’s according to SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

While remaining of the view that Scotland’s ‘direction of travel’ was towards independence, she told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland today that her ambitions for independence could be ‘put aside’ in the short term, as she seeks ‘consensus and compromise’ over Brexit.

While her favoured option remains an independent Scotland being a full member of the EU, she said ‘in terms of the timetable of Brexit’, independence could be taken off the table if a soft Brexit was achieved.

Soft Brexit would mean either the UK remains in the single market, or a way is found of Scotland remaining in it as outlined in the Scottish Government’s paper published last month.

The First Minister’s comments come amid signs that the SNP are putting ambitions for independence firmly on the backburner.

Polling by BMG Research for the Herald newspaper earlier this week found that attitudes to independence remained almost the same as the final result of the 2014 referendum.

According to the poll, when don’t knows and those preferring not to respond are removed, support for an independent Scotland is at 45.5 per cent, with 54.5 per cent opposed.

It came as former SNP leader, Gordon Wilson called Nicola Sturgeon to put on hold ‘indefinitely’ any plans for a second independence vote, arguing that ‘when the facts change, so should policy’ and that the BMG poll confirmed that ‘there is no appetite for an immediate independence referendum’.

‘Indyref2’, Wilson said, ‘should be shelved indefinitely until a better case is made’.

Meanwhile, following the Fabian Society’s calls earlier this week for the Labour party to work more collaboratively with the SNP, Lib Dems and the Greens, a former Scottish government cabinet inister has called on the SNP and Labour to work to boot out the Tories.

Writing for the New Statesman’s Stagger blog, the former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said:

“There is more that unites SNP and Labour than divides. Indulging in hatred simply harms both parties’ chances of removing the Tories – on both sides of the border.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

See: ‘We have no idea what they’re thinking’ – Carwyn Jones on Tory Brexit plans

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.