Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Sturgeon focuses on getting Scots to back independence

Reuters, ABERDEEN, Scotland

Scottish National Party (SNP) supporters should focus on how to increase support for the independence cause, rather than on the timing of when Scotland might split from the UK, SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday.

Sturgeon acted to dampen expectations among her supporters of an immediate push for a new secession vote while the outcome of Brexit is unclear.

Polls show a majority of Scots are opposed to a fresh ballot and a push for an early referendum last year backfired when the SNP’s support fell in a snap election.

However, she asked delegates to set aside the “despair and despondency” of the debate over Britain leaving the EU next year and focus on the future.

Scotland voted to stay in the EU, but, because a majority of Britons as a whole voted in favor of Brexit, it would nevertheless leave.

“The case for independence is strong. And it is getting stronger by the day,” Sturgeon said.

“As we wait for the fog of Brexit to clear, our opportunity — indeed, our responsibility — is this: Not just to focus on the ‘when’ of independence, but to use our energy and passion to persuade those who still ask ‘why?’ she said.

“Right now, that is the more important task,” she added.

Brexit has not been a catalyst for Scottish independence, but it has not weakened separatist fervor either, polls has shown.

That means Sturgeon has to continue to balance her politics finely, despite being the biggest single vote winner in Scottish politics with the biggest party in the Scottish parliament.

She is committed to updating the public on the timing of a possible new referendum on Scottish independence in the autumn, an SNP spokesman said.

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