Nicola Sturgeon: Harwood on 'pressure' facing First Minister
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Although Ms Sturgeon has claimed she will hold a second vote before the end of 2023, Mr Neil claimed this is merely the First Minister throwing “red meat” to her supporters. If Ms Sturgeon didn’t repeatedly claim a second vote will be on the cards, Mr Neil insisted her supporters would soon “turn on her”. Amid the damning figures over drug deaths in Scotland, Mr Neil also claimed the SNP has nothing to show for their 14 years in power.
Writing for the Daily Mail, he said: “Sturgeon needs constantly to throw her activists the red meat of separation because that’s all that really unites them.
“Without the imminent prospect of independence, they would turn in on themselves and even turn on her.
“This is especially true since, after 14 years in power, the SNP has really nothing to boast about.”
Indeed, according to figures, Scotland has the highest drug rate in Europe with 295 per million people.
While Mr Neil acknowledged the SNP may attempt to force a referendum without the Prime Minister’s permission, he concluded Ms Sturgeon’s days are numbered.
He said: “Sturgeon and the SNP have had a remarkable innings. But independence still eludes them, it is not clear how they can achieve it and the going is likely to get tougher rather than easier the longer they are in power.
“Perhaps, before the current Scottish Parliament is over in 2026, Sturgeon will have departed to the sort of international post that often goes to leaders of small countries who have schmoozed the global stage.
“Nobody should envy whichever luckless member of the SNP hierarchy is left to pick up the pieces.”
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Since the May election, Ms Sturgeon has reinvigorated her desire to break up the UK.
The Government has so far rejected her calls for a second referendum, just seven years after 55 percent of Scotland voted to stay part of the UK.
Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Minister did indicate, however, a vote could be held if the people of Scotland demand it.
He said: “The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there.
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“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 had hoped to cement her independence hopes during the elections but the SNP fell one seat short of an overall majority with 64 seats.
The SNP has now begun negotiations with the Green Party over a cooperation agreement which would create a 72 seat pro-independence majority in Holyrood.
A Panelbase poll for The Sunday Times found 56 percent of voters in England believe there shouldn’t be another referendum.
A further 54 percent said Scotland should remain in the UK, 17 percent said Scotland should split from the Union whilst 29 percent didn’t know.
Panelbase polled 3,981 people across the UK between June 18 and July 2.
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