Sun. Feb 5th, 2023


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Sturgeon refusing to step down shows SNP ‘stuck in rut’ – bad news for independence

3 min read

Nicola Sturgeon addresses speculation about her future

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Tom Harris wrote about Ms Sturgeon’s declaration of remaining as First Minister of Scotland for another while. Mr Harris looked at why the SNP are doing well – despite support for independence plummeting.

In a piece titled ‘Sturgeon is stuck in a rut’, he wrote: There are undoubtedly those in the independence movement who believe that a more robust approach – and even a new leader – would deliver independence on a shorter timescale than that envisaged by Sturgeon.

“That’s what the recent launch of the rival nationalist party Alba was all about.

“These people have little patience for the First Minister’s desire to repeat the formal process that delivered a legal referendum in 2014, one whose result would be respected on both sides of the border.

“Unless Boris Johnson’s government agrees to another such transfer of authority to allow the Scottish Government to conduct another referendum, then that path is closed.

“Recent Supreme Court judgments suggest that their lordships are not keen to bend the terms of the Scotland Act to allow Holyrood to legislate on any matter that lies explicitly outside its competence.

“Which leaves Sturgeon in an uncomfortable position of promising a new referendum by the end of 2023 even though she and her ministers know she has no power to deliver it.

“She is instead betting on persuading the UK government to come to her aid by accepting what she describes as her “unarguable” case for a rerun vote.”

Nicola Sturgeon recently spoke with Laura Kuennsberg about her plans for the future.

During this chat, the First Minister refused to speculate about retirement.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is almost as if my opponents have concluded they can’t beat me or remove me from office themselves.

“So they’re kind of crossing their fingers and hoping that I’ll remove myself from office.

“But they are going to be really disappointed because I’m going to be around a lot longer.”

The leader of the SNP added: “Given her many Tory and Labour leaders have come and gone and in my time as First Minister, perhaps a lot longer than them, and a lot longer than they may wish me to be.

“I was elected seven months ago, having asked people in Scotland to put their trust in me for a five-year term as First Minister.

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“They gave me that trust and they re-elected me.

“We face serious times as a country and I intend to fulfill that mandate.”

The presenter asked: “Will you serve the full five terms?”

Ms Sturgeon emphasised: “I intend to fulfill that mandate.”

Ms Kuenssberg told the Scottish First Minister: “When it comes to the question of independence isn’t the truth of it, you’re a bit stuck.

“The country is pretty stubbornly divided pretty much fifty fifty on this.

“Polling suggests the enthusiasm for independence has actually faded.”

The 51-year-old denied this, prompting Ms Kuenssberg to press: It has fallen back.

“The average over the last six months is 3 percent gap, it’s always roughly fifty fifty.”

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