Nicola Sturgeon: 'Time is on my side' on Scottish independence referendum push
Time is on the side of nationalists pushing for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon has said, adding that denying Scots a referendum would be “unthinkable”.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the First Minister claimed Brexit has led to the risks of not choosing independence being “much, much greater”.
The SNP leader also reiterated her commitment to a “legal, recognised constitutional process” for any second referendum.
That commitment comes the day after the Scottish Government lost a Supreme Court battle over two key bills deemed to be outside of Holyrood’s competency, raising hopes and concerns that any referendum bill passed by the Scottish Parliament would fall at the same hurdle.
Her comments also come with the backdrop of ongoing tensions within the SNP and the wider independence movement about the speed of the independence push, a schism that directly led to the creation of the Alba party, led by former first minister Alex Salmond.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I can’t look ahead and tell you exactly how this constitutional impasse is going to resolve itself, but it will resolve itself – and it will resolve itself on the side of democracy, because actually, the alternative is pretty unthinkable
“I’ve got democracy on my side ... if they think it’s about playing a waiting game, I’ve probably got time on my side as well.
"You look at the demographics of the support for independence – well, I’m not sure that’s going to get you out of this conundrum.”
On the prospect of a ‘wildcat’ referendum done without the consent of Westminster, the SNP leader rejected the suggestion such a vote would take place.
However, she warned Boris Johnson of the risks of denying a vote indefinitely.
She said: “If you’re saying that there is no legitimate, democratic, constitutional route for Scotland to choose independence, where does that leave us?
“The union suddenly is no longer what it has always been, a voluntary, consensual union of nations.”
On Brexit and its impact on Scotland, she said: “The consequences of not being independent are much, much greater than they arguably were in 2014.
“Will it be worth it? Absolutely. We face change and transition now, whatever we do.”
Responding to Ms Sturgeon's comments, Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-union campaign group Scotland in Union, said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s interview shows how utterly obsessed she is with constitutional division rather than being focused on her government’s failings.
“And while she is less blunt, she is also making the same distasteful argument that her colleagues have repeatedly made about waiting for older Scots to die in the hope that this will deliver separation.
“The reality is that our younger generation are more interconnected than ever and want solutions for the future that will tackle challenges like climate change, not tired old constitutional arguments from the past.”
Latest opinion polls suggest support for independence has dropped in recent months following record highs last year.
The last Savanta ComRes poll for The Scotsman in September saw No with a narrow lead of 52 per cent once don’t knows are excluded, with Yes on 48 per cent.
Officially, the SNP wants to see a referendum within the first half of the parliamentary term in 2023.