Brussels (Brussels Morning) The pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) announced on Sunday its 11-point roadmap for holding another independence referendum should it win an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament elections in May, BBC reported.
The SNP, which the polls are putting on track to win the majority of seats in the elections, plans to legislate for the referendum in the Scottish Parliament after the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to force a response from London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted repeatedly that he would not allow Scotland to hold another referendum “for a generation”, after Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom in the 2014 referendum. The Scottish devolved parliament needs a “section 30 order” from the UK Parliament in order to pass laws normally the preserve of Westminster.
Under the 11-point roadmap, the SNP plans to enact referendum legislation, leaving the UK government with three options – either to agree that the Scottish Parliament already has the power to legislate for a referendum, to agree to the section 30 order and put the matter beyond any doubt, or to take legal action and dispute the legal basis of the referendum.
The last option, SNP notes, would be vigorously opposed by a SNP-led Scottish government, and would be publicly indefensible both at home and abroad, as the matter on whether Scotland should hold a referendum is separate from whether Scotland should leave the UK.
One of the reasons for the failure of the 2014 referendum was the fact that had it been passed, Scotland, by default, would have had to leave the EU in parallel with leaving the UK. However, the current political situation has shifted considerably, with Scotland having been taken out of the EU even though the majority of its citizens voted “remain” in the Brexit referendum. The SNP’s ultimate goal is to have an independent Scotland rejoin the EU, once it has broken away from the UK.
A recent poll conducted for Sunday Times showed that a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland want referenda on seceding from the UK. The “leave” option in Scotland consistently polls above 50%.
“The polls now show that a majority of people in Scotland want independence,” Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.declared. “If the SNP win the Scottish election in a few months’ time on the proposition of giving people that choice, then what democrat could rightly stand in the way of that” she demanded..
The most recent Scottish parliamentary elections poll forecast SNP winning a record 71 out of the 129 seats, giving it a clear majority, more than enough for a mandate to implement an independence referendum. The same poll put current support for independence at 57%.