A government minister has suggested that Nicola Sturgeon is not respecting democracy in her bid for a further independence referendum.
Scotland’s first minister is set to reveal her plans to push for a fresh referendum later today.
It is expected that she will explain how she plans to hold a vote without permission from Westminster.
Tech minister Chris Philp told Sky News this morning: “I am telling her [Sturgeon] just to respect the result of a democratic referendum just as we respected the result of the Brexit referendum. Democracy only works if you respect the result of the vote you have.”
Philp also argued that under one-third of Scots are in favour of an independence vote going ahead in 2022 or 2023, and that Holyrood ought to focus on more immediate problems, insisting that: “only 28 per cent of people said they wanted a referendum this year or next. There are more important issues facing the country and facing Scotland.”
Surveys commissioned earlier this year by Survation and Panelbase respectively found that less than 3 in 10 Scots support a fresh vote on this timescale.
Philp said the 2014 result-in which over 55 per cent of Scots voted to remain part of the UK-ought to be respected given that the vote was intended as a “once in a generation” event.
“We had a referendum in 2014, the Scottish people delivered their verdict by a fairly clear 10 point margin. Nicola Sturgeon at the time, and her then mentor Alex Salmond, said very clearly to the Scottish people this was going to be a once in a generation referendum, it was only a few years ago, that’s not once in a generation,” he went on.
He stressed: “I think Nicola Sturgeon should respect the will of the Scottish people that was expressed so clearly in that referendum.”
Earlier this month the SNP leader released a paper contrasting the socioeconomic performance of the UK and the “striking” success of its European neighbours, for the purpose of arguing that Scotland ought to exit the Union.
Sturgeon has previously said she aims to stage a referendum in Autumn 2023, but is yet to indicate when she intends to bring forward a Referendum Bill.
University College London’s Constitution Unit research centre has said that there are “few constitutional scholars who believe it would pass muster in the Supreme Court” if Sturgeon an “advisory” or “consultative” referendum.
Boris Johnson has previously rejected calls for a further referendum on Scottish independence.