SNP POLL: Should Nicola Sturgeon resign if she fails to deliver independence in 2021? VOTE

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The First Minister said she is hoping to hold the vote during the early part of the next Scottish parliamentary term, following elections to Holyrood on May 6. If the SNP wins a majority, Ms Sturgeon could demand Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives MSPs the power to call a referendum. But he has made it clear he will refuse to allow this.

This means Ms Sturgeon may not be able to deliver her promise of independence.

The last referendum in 2014 resulted in 55 percent of Scottish voters choosing to remain in the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said on Monday: “We are still, like other countries the world over, in a global pandemic. There are lots of uncertainties ahead of us right now.

“We don’t know – I think we’re all a lot more hopeful the end of the pandemic is in sight – but we don’t know yet exactly when that will be so my energies are focused on that.”

However, she did not make it clear when she would set a date.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I want to see it in the early part of the next term of the Scottish parliament rather than the later part.

“I’m not ruling anything out, I’m not ruling anything in. I’m clear that I think for all the reasons I’ve set out, the sooner Scotland can have the powers of independence so we chart our own future, the better it will be for all of us.”

But the SNP leader has faced backlash over her plans for another referendum.

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Tories, said next year should instead be about “improving schools and hospitals” to help the country rebuild from the pandemic.

He tweeted: “They won’t get a look in if Nicola Sturgeon gets her way and demands indyref2 next year.

“The SNP’s obsession is crippling our country.”

The First Minister admitted she accepts many people would “prefer a stronger Scottish Parliament to independence”.

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But she still accused the Government of trying to take powers away from Holyrood.

Ms Sturgeon also took a swipe at Brexit as she pushed her cause yesterday.

She claimed Brexit would be a “huge, damaging change at the best of times”.

She then added that in “these most difficult of times it is unforgivable”.

The First Minister added the Government’s Internal Market Bill is a “Trojan Horse that will allow Westminster to work its way into the very heart of the devolution settlement”.

She said the “choice for Scotland is pressing” as the Holyrood election approaches, asking people: “Are we prepared to have the powers we voted for stripped away – at a time when we need them most?

“Are we prepared for our Scottish Parliament to be undermined and dragged down by Westminster?

“Or will we decide to make our Scottish Parliament independent?”

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