After Michael Gove said the British government would not stand in the way of a future vote on Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon is to kickstart her campaign for a second independence referendum next month.
A leaked draft agenda for the SNP’s conference in September shows party members will be asked to endorse a new push for independence in which Scots will be told “independence is essential to the country’s recovery from the Covid pandemic.”
In a move that would plunge the UK into a constitutional crisis, the agenda states that legislation for a new referendum should be introduced at Holyrood “at the earliest moment” after a “clear end” to the current public health crisis.
Mr Gove told the Mail on Sunday:
“The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there. I just don’t think that it is right, and the public don’t think it is right, to ask that question at the moment. If it is the case that there is clearly a settled will in favour of a referendum, then one will occur.”
Ms Sturgeon has largely remained silent on independence since the Holyrood elections in May, however, the leaked draft agenda is heavily focused on independence, and policies a sovereign Scottish state would pursue, sending a clear signal that the First Minister intends to end the constitutional ceasefire and force the issue back to the top of the political agenda.
In a further sign of the independence campaign ramping up on both sides, Boris Johnson is set to visit Scotland this week, as part of plans for him to spend more time north of the border. Westminster has repeatedly said it will refuse requests from the Scottish government for the necessary powers to hold another vote.