Search icon


24th Apr 2019

Nicola Sturgeon calls for Scottish independence referendum by 2021

The first minister has called for IndyRef2 before the end of the current parliament

Oli Dugmore

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, updates the Scottish Parliament on Brexit and her plans for a possible Scottish independence referendum on April 24, 2019 in Edinburgh,Scotland. It comes ahead of her party’s conference in Edinburgh this weekend, where activists will out pressure on the leadership to start an Indyref2 campaign. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The first minister has called for IndyRef2 before the end of the current parliament

Nicola Sturgeon called for a second referendum on Scottish independence before May 2021, in a statement at Holyrood.

The speech on “Brexit and Scotland’s future” detailed polls suggesting a majority of Scots now support independence, particularly in light of the ruling Conservative party’s approach to Brexit.

First minister Sturgeon said “profound changes” had taken place since 2016 calling for a new referendum “in the lifetime of this parliament” if Scotland is taken out of the EU. That would be May 2021.

“A choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of this parliament,” Sturgeon said. “I believe the case for independence is stronger than ever.”

Ahead of the speech, The Times of Scotland quoted an unnamed Westminster source saying “the government has bigger things to deal with just now than Nicola Sturgeon’s constant agitating for a second separation referendum.”

In response to Sturgeon’s statement, the stand-in leader of the Scottish Tories Jackson Carlawe said the move was an “absurd, ridiculous skewering of your priorities with the real priorities of the country.”

Scotland secretary David Mundell said: “People in Scotland voted decisively in 2014 to remain part of the UK, on a promise that the referendum would settle the issue for a generation.

“Instead of respecting that result, Nicola Sturgeon continues to press for divisive constitutional change when it is clear that most people in Scotland do not want another independence referendum. The UK Government will stand up for them.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to listen to the views of the Scottish people and concentrate on improving Scotland’s economy and schools, not continually trying to orchestrate upheaval and division.”