Newsnight: Angus Robertson discusses IndyRef2

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Angus Robertson, Scotland’s Constitution Secretary said IndyRef2 was boosted by a key part of the Good Friday Agreement that ended The Troubles. Mr Robertson, who was appointed to the post in June, referred to the 1998 deal which contained a clause that would oblige the UK Government to hold a border poll.

The clause says a poll can be held if the majority of voters in Northern Ireland are in favour with a specified seven-year period between each vote.

Based on the Good Friday Agreement clause, this could also mean a second Scottish independence referendum could take place in 2021.

The former SNP Westminster leader argued by electing the party who was committed to a second independence referendum to Holyrood, the Scottish people had shown their support for another vote.

He added: “As we know from agreements elsewhere in the UK, for example Northern Ireland, the issue of the border poll is integral to the Good Friday agreement.

 

“As we know from agreements elsewhere in the UK, for example Northern Ireland, the issue of the border poll is integral to the Good Friday agreement.

“I think in that case, there is a requirement of a wait for seven years after any vote, should the people wish to consider and have another vote.

“I observe that the distance between 2014 [the date of the last independence referendum] and 2021 is seven years.”

But Mr Robertson said a second vote would more likely take place closer to 2023.

The Edinburgh Central MSP also said there was no question of Nicola Sturgeon standing down before the Holyrood election in 2026.

Mr Robertson made clear: “I don’t think she is going to step down.

“She is going to lead the Scottish government through the independence referendum campaign.

“She will be the first prime minister of an independent Scotland.”

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Mr Robertson concluded by saying would be no need to fight the arguments concerning a second vote in the courts.

The Scottish Government minister stressed this was because the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement which gave approval for a first referendum in 2014 set a precedent that could be repeated.

He added to The Times of Scotland: “I hope the issue of the referendum ends with the recognition by the UK government that people have voted for [it] and to respect that vote, given that the UK is a voluntary union.”

The Scottish First Minister said she wants a second independence referendum to take place before the end of 2023, subject to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson would still have to grant permission for a legal vote and has so far signalled a no to granting a section 30 order required for a referendum.

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