Scotland’s referendum roadmap: 5 key takeaways

There is a clear and overwhelming mandate for an independence referendum, and now is the time to debate and decide the future of Scotland.

Following the launch of the Scottish Government’s independence papers, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has now announced the road map to the referendum.

Here’s all you need to know in 5 quick points.

The referendum will be held on 19 October 2023

Addressing the Scottish Parliament on 28 June 2022, Nicola Sturgeon has announced the date of Scotland’s independence referendum: Thursday, 19 October 2023.

The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill has now been published in the Scottish Parliament, setting out this date and the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The Scottish Government is working to ensure the referendum is lawful

If the UK government respected democracy, they would sit down together with the Scottish Government and agree a process, including a Section 30 order, to give people in Scotland the choice – following the precedent of 2014.

In her letter to Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon said she is “ready and willing to negotiate the terms of a Section 30 order” – however, she also said she will never “allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any Prime Minister”.

To ensure the referendum is “above reproach and commands confidence”, the First Minister has set out steps to go ahead without a Section 30 order.

Scotland’s future is up to the people of Scotland, not Westminster

The Scottish Government is working to ensure the referendum is legal – with Scotland’s Lord Advocate now referring to the UK Supreme Court.

If the UK Supreme Court was to rule that the Scottish Parliament cannot hold another referendum without Westminster agreement, then the SNP will stand at the next Westminster election on one issue – independence.

As Nicola Sturgeon put it, in that case the next general election in Scotland would be “a de facto referendum”.

There is an overwhelming mandate for a referendum

The Scottish Government has a clear democratic mandate to deliver a referendum on Scottish independence.

In the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP and the Scottish Greens stood on explicitly pro-independence manifestos – and they got the biggest number of votes ever, the highest ever vote share, and an increased pro-independence majority at Holyrood.

And based on the research from the 2021 Scottish Election Study, a decisive majority – 61% – of people in Scotland recognise the Scottish Government’s mandate to hold an independence referendum.

The Union of 2014 no longer exists – let’s choose a better future with independence

Under Westminster control, Scotland is held back from fulfilling our full potential – and with the enormous damage caused by Brexit, the UK no longer offers “stability” or “continuity” that unionist politicians claim.

Scotland overwhelmingly rejected Brexit, but was completely ignored by Westminster – and Brexit is now backed by both Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer.

We’re now forced to pay the price – with the UK government’s Office for Budget Responsibility warning that the long-term impact of Brexit is twice the impact of Covid.

Independent countries of Scotland’s size are happier, fairer and wealthier than the UK – and Scotland will have the opportunity to choose that better future with independence.

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