'Section 30 after de facto referendum would honour democracy’

The Supreme Court has ruled that Scottish Parliament could not legislate for a referendum.

Section 30 after de facto referendum would ‘honour democracy’, says SNP’s Toni Giugliano Getty Images

A section 30 order granted after a pro-independence win in a de facto referendum would “honour democracy”, the convener of the SNP’s policy group has said.

Nicola Sturgeon this week said her party would push ahead with plans to run the next national election on a single issue in a bid to secure majority support in the country after the Supreme Court ruled the Scottish Parliament could not legislate for a referendum.

But the outcome of a victory for the pro-independence side is not clear, given the UK Government’s historic aversion to giving ground on the issue.

While some hope it would be the catalyst for negotiations on Scotland’s separation from the union, one senior SNP member has said it could result in a new independence referendum being granted and fought after the election.

Toni Giugliano, the SNP’s policy development convener, told the Scotsman: “It’s not the only route, as the (First Minister) said. It’s not the only democratic route.

“But I think if we come out of that election and negotiations with a section 30 order, then I think that that would honour democracy in Scotland and it would put the UK in a much better light on the international stage.”

He added: “If the UK Government wants to come to the table and start negotiations on independence on the back of a (de facto referendum), then I’d be delighted.

“But I’m also a realist and I think that any advance on bringing the UK Government to a table is a win for Scotland.”

Mr Giugliano went on to say that the single issue election plan was a “tactic” to advance the cause of independence.

“There are some who see the de facto referendum as ‘oh well, that will mean that we achieve independence there and then’,” he said.

“The de facto referendum in many ways is a tactic for us to be able to pursue independence, to keep it on the agenda, and to, at the very best, begin negotiations with the UK Government.”

The former Holyrood candidate told the newspaper the SNP existed to win independence, saying: “Of course it’s risky. It should be risky. We’ve been in government for 15 years.

“The reason why we’re here is not to perpetually be in government – the reason why we’re here is to deliver independence for Scotland.”

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