Sturgeon : Election is ‘referendum on referendum’ says expert
Scotland’s First Minister is ramping up efforts to gain support for her campaign ahead of the Holyrood elections in May. The Prime Minister last year refused to grant Ms Sturgeon’s wish for IndyRef2, warning it would drag out the “political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade”.
Alun Evans, who served as director of the Scotland Office from 2012-15, has said Mr Johnson would do better to draw up a radical plan to protect the Union instead of just focusing on preventing a public vote on the issue.
Mr Evans was instrumental in negotiating the 2014 independence vote.
He suggested a third option on the ballot paper could be for “home rule”.
But the colony-style government, which would be run by Scots, is unlikely to appeal to staunch independence supporters above the border.
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Mr Evans also said a 60 percent voting threshold should be in place before independence can be declared following a referendum.
His comments come more than six years after Scots voted 55 percent to stay in the UK.
In a letter to The Times, Mr Evans warned of an impending “existential threat” to the future of the UK if the Scottish National Party (SNP) returned a majority in the May elections.
He wrote: “The response from the Prime Minister to reject out of hand the idea of another referendum is the political equivalent of burying your head in the sand.”
Twenty surveys in a row have clearly shown that support for independence has increased since 2014, with all polls showing more Scots want out than those who want to remain in the UK.
Recent opinion polls have also indicated the SNP are on track for a landslide victory in May.
Last weekend SNP minister suggested they could take matters into their own hands if the Prime Minister continues to dig in his heels.
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They touted the idea of pressing ahead with a referendum even if the UK Government refuses to grant a Section 30 order.
This section of the Scotland Act is a legal order that allows a vote on the constitution to be held.
Such orders have been issued multiplied times since the devolved Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999.
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They have allowed MSP to legislate on topics including reducing the voting age in Scottish elections and the construction to railways.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said a Section 30 order is the only route to a referendum which he would be willing to accept.
He said in a democracy politicians must not move along the lines that have been set in stone.
He said: “That’s the correct mechanism for any future referendum if we were to hold one because, as I say, that’s how the two governments agreed to the 2014 referendum.
“They agreed that’s the gold standard because it went through a section 30 order, there was discussion between the Scottish and UK governments and they agreed a position in terms of the franchise, the date, the question was arrived at and that is the way you conduct business in a democracy.
“You use the procedures that are clearly laid down.”
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