Date is set for indyref2 but we don't know how they plan to do it

Next October is the most specific anyone in Government has been so far.

Scottish Government has set a date for indyref2 but we don’t know how they plan to do it Getty Images

The constitution secretary Angus Robertson says the Scottish Government intends to hold a referendum next October. This is the most specific anyone in Government has been so far.

He said it on Good Morning Scotland on Wednesday morning.

He might have said it in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, but he wasn’t allowed to make his statement before taking questions from MSPs.

The Presiding Officer was quite annoyed that the First Minister had unveiled her paper on independence to the media before MSPs, although, as parliament minister George Adam explained, it contained no significant policy commitments.

So we now know when the Scottish Government wants to hold indyref2, but we still don’t know how they plan to do it.

Between SNP and Green MSPs the Scottish Government has a majority in the Scottish Parliament so it has a mandate to hold a referendum, but the First Minister wants it to have the same standing as 2014 and that meant the temporary transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood.

That is not going to happen this time, Boris Johnson made that clear on Tuesday and probably will do so again at Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday.

The First Minister thinks she has a way round that. I don’t know what it is but she says she will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament in the next two weeks.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross says he would boycott a “wildcat” referendum, as would most Unionists probably, but the First Minister knows that and yesterday sounded more confident than I have previously heard that she has found a workaround.

I am generally in favour of political leaders telling the media things first but this is a statement that should definitely be made to the Scottish Parliament first.