Sturgeon defends 'de facto referendum' as 'a matter of real politics'

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon Credit: PA

Nicola Sturgeon has defended her plan to turn the next General Election into a 'de facto referendum' on independence, after criticism from one of Scotland's most respected academics.

The First Minister said her preference was to hold a legal referendum on 19 October 2023.

However, if the Supreme Court rules that not to be lawful, then Ms Sturgeon said her party, the SNP, would fight the next General Election on the 'sole issue' of whether Scotland should be an independent country.

She argued a majority of the vote would give her a mandate to begin independence negotiations with the UK Government.

Speaking to Representing Border, James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh, said 'there's no such thing as a de facto referendum'.

However, speaking to STV News, Nicola Sturgeon hit back, claiming 'this is a matter of real politics, not abstract academic arguments'.

The First Minister said her preference was for a second independence referendum, but if this was blocked by the Supreme Court and the UK Government, it was 'in the interests of democracy' for the next General Election to be fought on the issue of independence.