The UK Government should be “clamouring” for another vote on Scottish independence if it is confident of winning, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the First Minister said her Government has plans “ready to go” if the Supreme Court rules staging another independence referendum is in the powers of Holyrood.
The court will hear arguments this week after a referral from the Lord Advocate on a prospective Bill legislating for a referendum.
Speaking as the SNP conference continued in Aberdeen, Sturgeon hit out at the UK Government’s continuing opposition to granting another vote.
“I believe very firmly – and I think this is a bit of an iron law of politics – if the other side of this debate really believed people in Scotland didn’t want a referendum and if they really believed that people in Scotland would vote against independence, they’d be the ones clamouring for a referendum,” the First Minister said.
When asked if it is possible the UK Government wants to avoid the “disruption” that would stem from a referendum, the First Minister said: “Disruption? Perish the thought we would have disruption in people’s lives right now.
“The disruption that people are suffering right now are coming from decisions that have been imposed on Scotland against our will.”
Sturgeon pointed to Brexit and the UK Government’s mini-budget as decisions imposed on Scotland.
She also says she believes a boycott of a second referendum would not happen.
“If the Supreme Court paves the way for a lawful referendum next year, I think the vast majority of the people of Scotland would take part in that,” she said.
“The UK Government might decide to say they don’t want them to take part in that, but I don’t think that is going to prevail.
“If you’re confident in your arguments in politics, if you’re confident in the case that you’re making, then you don’t fear democracy, you actually relish the opportunity to put your case before the people and let the people decide.”
Scottish Tory constitution spokesperson Donald Cameron said the First Minister was “deluding herself” and the public in saying there is an “appetite” for a referendum.
“Nicola Sturgeon is deluding herself – and seeking to delude the Scottish people – when she says there is an appetite for another divisive referendum on her timescale.
“The polling evidence is clear and consistent – the majority of Scots, including many SNP voters, are resolutely opposed to the First Minister’s self-serving push for a vote next year.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show his party, and its UK counterpart, were a better alternative than the Tories.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon wants to pretend there’s almost no difference between a Labour government and a Conservative government.
“That’s why yesterday you heard SNP conference focus their attacks not on the Conservative Party,” he added.
“They focused their attacks on the Labour Party – almost like they preferred a Tory government – surely not?”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country