Nicola Sturgeon sets out 'democratic case' for Scottish independence

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh to launch a second independence paper. Credit: PA Images

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has published the second of a series of papers making the case for Scottish independence.

Speaking at a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh, the SNP leader insisted that "only independence can strengthen and embed democracy in Scotland".

Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum on 19 October 2023. Boris Johnson rejected her call, shortly before announcing he would be standing down as Prime Minister once a successor is chosen.

The First Minister described Mr Johnson as a "Prime Minister with no democratic endorsement". With the Tories now hunting for his successor, Ms Sturgeon said he would be replaced with "another Prime Minister Scotland hasn't voted for".

Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum on Scottish independence on 19 October 2023. Credit: PA Images

This latest paper focusses on democracy. At her official residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said it "exposes the the significant and increasing democratic deficit Scotland suffers as part of the union".

On the Conservative Party leadership contest she added: "The change of Tory leader seems virtually certain to be accompanied by a shift even further to the right.

"That means a shift even further away from the mainstream of Scottish opinion and values."

She raised the prospect the contest to replace Mr Johnson as PM could have damaging impacts for Scotland.

She said: "We may be just a few days into this Tory leadership contest but it is already crystal clear the issues Scotland is focused on - tackling child poverty, supporting NHS recovery, building a fairer economy and making aa just transition to net zero -will be hindered not helped by who ever becomes Prime Minister in the weeks ahead."

Voters in Scotland have "repeatedly" returned a majority of MSPs who support independence, Ms Sturgeon said, but added that this was "treated as immaterial" by Westminster.

She argued that Westminster "must not and will not be allowed" to block  the "right" of Scots "to have our say on independence".

Ms Sturgeon added: "While we hope and plan for a referendum, this should also be clear: if a referendum is blocked by Westminster we will put the choice to the people of Scotland in the general election.

"Either way Scotland will have a choice."

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