Sturgeon ‘behaving like a dictator’ says expert

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Readers voted in our poll on whether Scottish independence will ever take place – as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon eyes up a second referendum following the SNP’s Holyrood election victory last week. Some 60 percent of respondents (6,608 people) said no.

Nine percent (994) said Scottish independence will happen in the next few years, while 19 percent (2,121) thought it would take place but not for a long time.

Some 12 percent (1,312) said they were not sure.

Our poll comes after Ms Sturgeon’s SNP party won the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament in last Thursday’s Holyrood elections.

That total is one more than the SNP secured in 2016, but still one short of an overall majority.

However the eight Green MSPs who were voted in, meaning the Scottish Parliament does have a majority of members who support independence.

Ms Sturgeon told Boris Johnson in a phone call on Sunday that it was a “matter of when – not if” another vote on whether to split the Union would take place following her landslide victory.

A spokesman for the SNP leader said: “The First Minister made clear that her immediate focus was on steering the country through Covid and into recovery, and that a newly elected Scottish government would work with the UK government as far as possible on that aim.

“The First Minister also reiterated her intention to ensure that the people of Scotland can choose our own future when the crisis is over, and made clear that the question of a referendum is now a matter of when – not if.”

But Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove insisted Ms Sturgeon’s failure to secure an SNP majority like her predecessor Alex Salmond did in 2011 indicated there was not an appetite among the public for another referendum.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “That is a significant difference.

“Alex Salmond, when he requested a referendum, every party in the Scottish Parliament agreed that it was appropriate to have a referendum given that he had secured a majority.

“It is not the case now – as we see – that the people of Scotland are agitating for a referendum.”

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Mr Gove instead urged the SNP leader to “concentrate on recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon fumed the UK Government was showing a “lack of respect” for Scottish democracy in threatening to block a follow-up to 2014’s independence vote, which saw Scots opt to stay in the Union.

She said: “In this election, they have voted overwhelmingly for the SNP and we stood on a manifesto commitment to firstly… continue to steer the country through the Covid pandemic.

“But after the crisis to give the people of Scotland the opportunity to choose our own future in a referendum.

“The fact that we are sitting here having a debate about whether or not that outcome is going to be respected says a lot about the lack of respect for Scottish democracy that this UK Government has demonstrated for quite some time now.” polled 11,035 people on this website on May 13.

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