Ruth Davidson: 'Scots do not want a referendum'

Ruth Davidson

The Scottish Conservative leader has said the majority of Scots do not want a second independence referendum.

Ruth Davidson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that Nicola Sturgeon’s call for such a vote was “not the will of the Scottish people”.

She said: “The SNP is not Scotland, they are acting against the majority wishes of the people of Scotland.”

The SNP says it has a mandate because Scotland faces being dragged out of Europe against its wishes.

Ms Davidson was speaking six days after Scotland’s first minister announced she wished to hold another independence referendum in autumn 2018 or spring 2019 once the terms of the UK’s Brexit deal “became known”.

Nicola Sturgeon said Scottish voters should then be given a choice about the country’s future direction.

But Ms Davidson cited recent opinion polls suggesting that a majority of Scots do not want another referendum to take place in the next few years.

She said: “I don’t think you can have an independence referendum again if you don’t have public consent for it, and the people of Scotland don’t want this.

“We see another poll today, to add to the many dozen that we’ve seen since June of last year, that show that the majority of people in Scotland don’t want this.”

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Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP spring conference on Saturday that a referendum would take place

Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that the UK government will refuse to allow another referendum in the SNP’s preferred timescale, arguing that “now is not the time” with Brexit negotiations due to start shortly.

Ms Davidson said: “There are people right across Scotland, many, many thousands of them, that are so thankful for the prime minister to say let’s take a pause on this.”

She also said it was “astonishing” that the SNP had not given more details of its independence plan during its spring conference in Aberdeen.

“We have asked basic questions on things like currency, on things like a central bank, on things like whether we would even rejoin Europe as a full member, and Nicola Sturgeon seems unable to commit to that,” she said.

The Scottish Parliament will debate the issue of a new referendum on Monday and Tuesday.

The SNP can count on the support of the Scottish Greens in asking for the transfer of powers from Westminster that would allow such a vote to be held.

The SNP’s 2016 manifesto said the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there was “a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will”.

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