Many questions have been asked following the announcement from Nicola Sturgeon yesterday. Here’s a response to some of your questions.
QWhy has Nicola Sturgeon chosen to make her announcement about seeking another referendum just now?
AThe SNP conference in Aberdeen this weekend had been touted as a possible opportunity for an announcement, but by making it yesterday she took Westminster by surprise and got in before the triggering of Brexit. It is also suggested she wanted to make the announcement to come from her as First Minister rather than as SNP leader.
QWhat does the First Minister do next?
AShe will ask approval from the Scottish Parliament next week to seek a Section 30 order from the UK government, paving the way for a referendum. It will be hard for Theresa May to refuse this outright, but negotiations are likely to be tricker than for the 2014 referendum. In the meantime, the SNP must also put together its case for independence to take to the voters.
QWill the question be the same as last time?
AThere seems little reason to change the question. It’s almost certain that 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to vote this time too. The most controversial issue to be negotiated is likely to be the timing. Ms Sturgeon wants it between autumn 2018 and spring 2019. Mrs May could argue for 2020.
QWill Yes win the referendum this time?
AThe Yes campaign started well behind the last time but managed to increase its support from around 30 per cent to 45 per cent, as Alex Salmond likes to point out. Achieving such a leap will be harder this time. But polls suggest there has been some movement in favour of independence as the UK government’s Brexit stance becomes clearer. One poll at the weekend had Yes and No equal on 50 per cent.
QWhat are the bookies saying about it?
A William Hill make it odds-on at 4/6 that there will be a Yes vote.