Second indyRef vote in October 2023, Angus Robertson confirms

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out plans to hold a second vote on Scottish independence.

Aim is to hold indyRef vote in October 2023, Angus Robertson confirms STV NewsiStock

The Scottish Government intends to hold a second referendum on independence in October 2023, the country’s constitution secretary has stated.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out the first in a series of papers which make the case for Scotland to become an independent country.

The SNP leader also stated the intention to “forge a way forward” to hold a referendum, even if a Section 30 Order is rejected by the UK Government.

Speaking on Wednesday, Angus Robertson however said that he sees “no reason” for such a request to be denied.

A Section 30 Order would see a temporary transfer of the powers required to hold a referendum from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament.

Then-Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to such a request from the Scottish Government to allow the vote to take place in 2014.

“The First Minister made clear yesterday that she intends to make an announcement to the Scottish Parliament in the forthcoming weeks about the route-map towards the referendum, which we intend to hold next October,” Robertson told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“Given the ruling of the Presiding Officer about announcements of such importance being made in the Parliament, it’s not my place to make sneak previews of that on Good Morning Scotland.

“What I am here to talk about is the publication of the first paper in the prospectus series that the Scottish Government is publishing in the run-up to the referendum next year.”

Robertson described the process for holding the vote in 2014 as the “gold standard” of holding a recognised and constitutional referendum.

He said: “I see no reason for the UK Government to deny a Section 30 Order.

“I think most of your listeners will be aware that this is the procedure that was agreed in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, the gold standard of holding a recognised, agreed constitutional referendum.

“That was what a Conservative prime minister, incidentally also working in coalition with the Liberal Democrats at that time, who agreed that given that a majority had been returned to the Scottish Parliament in favour of a referendum, that that was what should happen.”

The constitution secretary also rejected suggestions that there should be a 25-year-wait for another referendum to be held.

Mark Spencer, a UK Government minister, on Tuesday told the House of Commons that such a vote should not take place until 2039 at the earliest.

“To actually reflect on what that means is somebody not elected in Scotland, representing a government that has not been returned in Scotland since 1955 telling the people of Scotland what they can and can’t do,” said Robertson.

“We’re in the territory of democracy denial when I hear things like that.”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy described the move to hold a referendum as “reckless”.

“It’s clear the SNP are ramping up their push for another divisive referendum,” said Hoy.

“Nicola Sturgeon has come close to endorsing a plan to push ahead with an illegal vote and Angus Robertson doubled down on that today.

“This reckless push for another referendum will damage Scotland when all the focus should be on Covid recovery and the global cost-of-living crisis.

“The SNP are distracted by their obsession with independence once again. They’re focusing on the wrong priorities and setting back Scotland’s economy and public services as a result”

He added: “Our public services, especially the NHS, are still struggling after the pandemic. 

“On top of that, the war in Ukraine has sent food and energy prices soaring, leading to an unprecedented squeeze on household incomes.

“Against this backdrop, it’s a shameful dereliction of duty by the SNP Government to focus on holding a referendum that the vast majority of Scottish people don’t want.”

Scottish Labour’s constitution spokesperson Sarah Boyack insisted “you cannot play politics”, as she outlined the impact of the cost of living crisis.

“This is nothing more than pie in the sky posturing from Angus Robertson,” said Boyack.

“Thousands of Scots are facing the choice between heating and eating and the best that this SNP government can do is pluck dates out of a hat for another divisive referendum.

“Let’s be clear – this is a disappointing return to the politics of the past – the politics of strife and division.

“You cannot play politics while people’s lives and livelihoods are in the balance.”

Boyack added: “The next electoral contest in Scotland will be a general election. This is our chance for change and Scottish Labour is ready to kick the Tories out of power and elect a Labour Government.

“Only Labour can boot Boris Johnson out of government, bring our country together and focus on the people’s priorities. Join us and lets build that future, together.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code