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Scotland ‘on cusp of history’ with independence ‘in clear sight’, Sturgeon to declare

Urges party faithful to ‘reach out to all of Scotland like never before’

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Saturday 28 November 2020 07:24 GMT
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Sturgeon wants indyref2 'early in next parliament'

Nicola Sturgeon will declare Scotland a "nation on the cusp of making history" with independence in "clear sight" after several opinion polls suggested most Scots now want to break away from the rest of the UK.

Scotland's first minister will open her party’s annual conference by saying she has "never been so certain" independence will be achieved.

The Scottish National Party won 48 of 59 seats in Scotland in last December's general election. 

More recently, a number of polls have also suggested a majority of Scots are in favour of separation. 

But the SNP faces a major electoral test in the Scottish Parliament elections in May.  

A clear victory would be a mandate for another independence referendum, the SNP argues.  

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly ruled out another vote.  

Senior Conservatives point to the 2014 referendum, designed to settle the question for a generation.  

But many senior SNP figures argue that the UK Scots voted to remain a part of no longer exists, particularly after the 2016 Brexit decision.  

On Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said a new referendum could be held "in the earlier part" of the next session of the Scottish Parliament.  

She will tell her conference, taking place online because of coronavirus: "Scotland is now a nation on the cusp of making history.

"Independence is in clear sight — and with unity of purpose, humility and hard work I have never been so certain that we will deliver it.

"The people of Scotland have the right to choose their future. Let's now focus all our efforts on making sure we bring about that better country they and future generations deserve."

The SNP leader will say support for independence among Scots has now "risen to become the sustained and majority view in public opinion".

She will tell delegates: “While our primary focus must remain on eliminating Covid-19 from our shores, for which we have renewed hope, Scotland must be ready for what comes next.”

She will urge her party faithful to "reach out to all of Scotland like never before".  Following controversy over so-called ‘cybernats’ aggressively pushing independence online, she will say the SNP must "demonstrate with cool heads and with patient persuasion” that Scotland is ready to “take its place in the global family of independent nations".
But Ms Sturgeon’s opponents called on her to focus on the fight against Covid-19 instead.Scottish Labour constitution spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "In the midst of a global pandemic, when people are losing their jobs and saying goodbye to loved ones, it is insulting that she wants to focus on independence." Pamela Nash, chief executive of the pro-UK Scotland in Union group, said:  "The next few years must be all about recovery from coronavirus, and that should be the entire focus for the Scottish government."

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