SNP manifesto: Winning majority would trigger independence negotiations

First Minister John Swinney said his government would 'embark on negotiations' with the UK Government.

Key Points
  • Independence is on ‘page one, line one’ of the manifesto, as Scotland’s First Minister John Swinney had promised
  • The SNP leader pledged an SNP majority in Scottish seats at Westminster would mandate negotiating for a referendum
  • SNP MPs will demand the “full devolution” of tax powers, including over national insurance
  • The manifesto makes clear the SNP believes the UK should rejoin the EU
  • It commits SNP MPs to pushing for an essentials guarantee to ensure every UK resident can afford basics such as food and utilities
  • The SNP vowed to table a Bill to protect the NHS from privatisation

The Scottish National Party has launched its 2024 general election manifesto with a commitment to immediately seek independence negotiations with the UK Government if it returns a majority of MPs to Westminster.

The SNP also wants the next prime minister to give Scotland another £1.5bn a year for the nation’s NHS, rejoin the EU and end the two-child benefits cap.

Speaking at the launch in Edinburgh on Wednesday, John Swinney said independence would deliver a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

“If the SNP wins a majority of seats in this election in Scotland, the Scottish government will embark on negotiations with the UK government to run the democratic wishes of people in Scotland into a reality,” he told supporters and journalists.


Independence and an end to spending cuts are among the focus for the SNP in the General Election. John Swinney launched his manifesto in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Read more on the STV News website. #generalelecions #manifesto #stv #stvnews #news #politics

♬ original sound – STV News

Labour and the Tories have rejected the idea of another Scottish independence referendum, pointing to the result in 2014.

Swinney said: “It is through independence that we believe we can build the fairer country and the more prosperous economy we know is possible.

“Not independence for its own sake. Independence for the powers to protect our NHS and to help people through tough times.

“Independence for a stronger economy and happier, healthier lives.

“And independence for a better future for Scotland – made in Scotland – for Scotland.”

But the First Minister refused to say what will happen to the Scottish independence movement if the SNP loses its majority in Scotland on July 4.

The party’s position is to seek to give “democratic effect” to the will of the Scottish people if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats at Westminster, which Swinney said on Wednesday means negotiating for another referendum to be held.

The policy was first agreed under Swinney’s predecessor Humza Yousaf at the party’s conference last year.

Swinney said there was “no other way” to get to independence than through the ballot box, adding: “We must never lose faith in the power of the democratic voice of the people of Scotland.”

But with polls suggesting Labour could be pulling ahead of the SNP, he refused to say what losing its majority would mean for the independence movement.

The full SNP manifesto can be found here.

Responding to the manifesto, Scottish Conservative chair Craig Hoy said: “The SNP’s entire manifesto can be summed up in one word – independence.

“The first page is dedicated solely to splitting up Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

“None of Scotland’s urgent priorities will get any focus from the SNP. For John Swinney, independence comes before the economy, the NHS and everything else.”

Which policies are the party proposing?

The party had 20 key policy pledges in its 30-page manifesto with few surprises:

  • Deliver independence
  • End 14 years of austerity
  • Rejoin the EU
  • Tackle the cost of living crisis
  • Protect the NHS from the “twin threats” of Westminster privatisation and austerity with an extra £1.6bn to NHS Scotland
  • Reverse the £1.3bn Westminster cut to Scotland’s capital budget
  • Demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza
  • Scrap the two-child benefit cap
  • Demand the devolution of new borrowing powers to invest in a just transition
  • Legislate for an essentials guarantee on food and utilities
  • Support the abolition of the House of Lords
  • Stand up for WASPI women
  • Devolve powers to create a bespoke migration system for Scotland
  • Empower workers by scrapping zero-hours contracts, end fire and rehire and repeal the Minimum Services Bill
  • Scrap the Rwanda scheme
  • Tackle the drugs death crisis
  • Protect pensions
  • Scrap Trident
  • Increase maternity pay
  • Defend free university tuition in Scotland

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