Nicola Sturgeon: Brexit will 'almost certainly' trigger independence referendum

Posted On: 
21st February 2016

There will “almost certainly” be a second referendum on Scottish independence if the UK votes to leave the European Union, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Nicola Sturgeon on the Andrew Marr Show, 21/02/16

The SNP leader said Brexit would undermine the basis on which many Scots voted to remain part of the United Kingdom, and therefore there would be a groundswell of opinion for a rerun of the referendum.

"I think that would be the demand of the people of Scotland," Ms Sturgeon told the Andrew Marr Show.

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“If a couple of years later we find ourselves, having voted to stay in the European Union, being taken out against our will, I do think there are many people – including people who voted No in 2014 – who would say ‘the only way to guarantee our EU membership is to be independent and that, I think, is inescapable.”

The First Minister will back a Remain vote in June’s EU referendum, but she distanced herself from David Cameron’s own campaign for an In vote.

She warned Mr Cameron not to come to Scotland and signalled she would not stand on a platform alongside him.

“I'm not sure it would help his cause too much, I think he should perhaps think twice about that,” she said.  

“I remember in the independent referendum we used to be overjoyed every time he made a foray into Scotland to campaign there because we thought it ratcheted votes up for the Yes campaign.

“So I'll be making a positive case but as I said earlier on my reasons for being in the EU, I guess, are rather different to David Cameron’s in many respects. Perhaps if we appeal to our own strands of opinion then we will maximise our chances of a vote to stay in.”

The Prime Minister’s renegotiation process may actually have damaged the chances of the Remain campaign, she argued, because people who had been awaiting the outcome of the reform talks before making up their minds would have been “disappointed” by the changes agreed.

“It didn’t live up to many of the expectations that he himself created,” Ms Sturgeon said.