Scotland’s IndyRef2 mandate: the facts

The Scottish Government has a clear democratic mandate to deliver a referendum on Scottish independence, and it has launched a series of papers to set out the case for independence.

And Nicola Sturgeon has now announced the publishing Scottish Independence Referendum Bill – with the date of the independence referendum: 19 October 2023.

While some unionist politicians desperately try to deny Scotland’s mandate, the facts are clear.

Read on for a handy summary.

The 2021 election: decisive mandate for a referendum

In the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP and the Scottish Greens stood on explicitly pro-independence manifestos, pledging to hold an independence referendum in the current term of the Parliament.

The election resulted in a record high pro-independence vote, with:

  • The highest ever number of votes for pro-independence parties
  • The highest ever vote share for pro-independence parties
  • The highest ever number of pro-independence MSPs, with an increased majority at Holyrood
  • A pro-independence majority government, formed by the SNP and the Greens

This clear electoral victory in 2021, further reinforced by the SNP’s and the Greens’ record performance in the 2022 local elections, amounts to a clear mandate for Scotland’s right to choose.

Research shows that majority of people in Scotland agree: there is a mandate

Evidence from the 2021 Scottish Election Study shows that a decisive majority – 61% – of people in Scotland recognise the Scottish Government’s mandate to hold an independence referendum.

Right across the board, and in every question asked, the study found that a majority of people in Scotland believed there was a mandate.

And as Labour attempts to deny the clear mandate, they’re increasingly out of touch with trade unions – as the STUC’s General Secretary, Roz Foyer, recently acknowledged the Scottish Government’s indyref2 mandate.

The Tories stood on an explicit platform of opposing indyref2 – and they lost

In the 2021 election, the Scottish Tories hedged their campaign on opposing an independence referendum – and got a 21.9% constituency vote share, compared to the SNP’s 47.7%.

In fact, during the 2021 campaign, Douglas Ross himself said that “every vote for the SNP is a vote for an independence referendum” – and that the only way to stop it was voting Tory.

The mandate is clear, but don’t just take our word for it…

Former Scottish Tory leader, Baroness Ruth Davidson, said: “If the Greens and the SNP… get over the line and can make a coalition, make a majority, get the votes in Parliament, then they’ll vote through a referendum. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Bernard Ponsonby, STV’s former Political Editor and current Special Correspondent, said that “it is not credible for politicians in Scotland to deny the SNP has a right to pursue indyref2.”

And unionist politicians of all shades had some very interesting things to say about mandates and democracy – which they now try to spin on its head in an attempt to deny the mandate.

As both Tories and Labour back a damaging Brexit, let’s choose a better future with independence

In 2014, the ‘No’ campaign repeatedly said that the only way to secure our EU membership was voting ‘No’.

Yet less than two years later, the UK government held an EU referendum – against the clear will of Scotland’s people and 53 out of 59 Scottish MPs.

Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU – with 32 out of 32 local authorities rejecting Brexit – but Scotland was completely ignored by Westminster and dragged out of the EU against our will.

Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have now become the cheerleaders of the Tories’ Brexit, which is exacerbating the cost of living crisis and making us all poorer.

Pledge your support for independence

People in Scotland have a clear democratic right, and a clear democratic mandate, to choose their future.

That choice is coming, with an independence referendum set for 2023.

The power to win over undecided voters, and get Yes over the line, is in your hands – so pledge your support here, and click here to get involved.