At the Scottish National Party conference in Glasgow on Thursday, party leader Nicola Sturgeon announced that her party will be unveiling draft legislation next week to prepare for a rerun of the 2014 referendum within the next two years. Sturgeon has said that she aims to hold a Scottish Referendum before the UK leaves the European Union, attacking the Conservative Party for its xenophobic rhetoric on capping immigration and leaving the single market. The party leader also singled out Theresa May during the conference and declared, “Hear this: if you think for one single second that I’m not serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland’s interests, then think again.” These comments are in response to the Conservative Party Conference last week where May appeared to reject the possibility of Scotland staying in Europe as part of the UK.
Despite this declaration, the SNP faces significant obstacles before launching another independence referendum bid. Holyrood requires Westminister’s legal authority to hold a referendum and recent poll figures suggest that Scottish voters are not overwhelmingly convinced that another vote is necessary. Figures posted by the Herald last week, state that only 38 per cent of people support another independence referendum. Even more so, the latest GDP data shows that the Scottish economy is growing at a third of the rate of the UK as a whole.
However, it could be perceived that the new declaration for Scottish independence represents a wider opposition to right-wing Tories advocating a hard Brexit. Sturgeon has pledged that SNP MPs will vote against the Brexit bill when it comes before the Commons next year and that her party hopes to persuade Labour, Liberal Democrats and even moderate Conservative MPs to join the party in a coalition against a hard Brexit, “not just for Scotland but for the whole UK.”