Sturgeon rebuffs claims SNP manifesto will not include commitment to independence referendum


Claims that SNP manifesto for 2016 Scottish elections would not include a referendum for the first time since 1999

SNP LEADER Nicola Sturgeon has rebuffed claims that the SNP’s manifesto for the 2016 Scottish elections will not include a firm commitment to a referendum on Scottish Independence.

Responding on Twitter to a story in the Herald newspaper , which featured claims by senior SNP figures that the SNP’s manifesto would not contain a firm commitment to a referendum on Scottish independence for the first time since 1999, Sturgeon asserted that the SNP’s manifesto was still to be completed.

She tweeted: “News to me! Manifesto not finalised yet.”

SNP sources had stated that policy was likely to fall in line with a position outlined in Sturgeon’s speech to the SNP conference in Aberdeen in October 2015, when she said that a second referendum would only be considered under circumstances where independence maintained over 60 per cent support for a year or more.

Some SNP figures have raised concerns over the viability of any referendum not contained within an election-winning manifesto. Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has argued that the UK government would be in a position to refuse to agree to a new referendum under these circumstances.

Quoted in the Herald he said: “The claim would be: you didn’t ask for a mandate, therefore you don’t have a mandate, therefore there’s no need for us to respond to your request for one. We’d come up against a brick wall.”

In August 2015 CommonSpace revealed that the SNP’s provisional conference agenda included no plans to discuss either the independence referendum of 2014 or any future independence referendum. At the conference in October no concrete commitment to a second referendum was established.

Sturgeon has repeatedly insisted that a second independence referendum could take place if there were a majority in favour of independence, or a significant change in circumstances – such as Britain voting to leave the EU and Scotland voting to remain with the block of 28 nations.

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Picture courtesy of Number 10