May’s general election will not lead to another Scottish independence referendum, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday. Despite a heavy defeat at the polls last year, support for the SNP has grown, with polls predicting the party is on course to secure a majority of Westminster seats across Scotland.
Speaking on ITV, Sturgeon said the only way another referendum will be held is if it is backed at a Scottish Parliamentary election. “Scotland does accept the outcome of the referendum,” she said. “The election on May 7 is not about independence. If you vote for the SNP you are not voting for independence you are not even voting for another independence referendum.”
Sturgeon added: “I think Scotland will be independent one day, I think that is the direction of travel but it won’t be me that decides that. As the leader of the SNP I am saying very clearly to people that voting SNP in this election is not voting for another independence referendum. For there to be another referendum people would have to vote for a party that had that as a proposal in a manifesto in a Scottish parliament election. That’s not me saying that’s going to be in an SNP manifesto for the next Scottish Parliament… For the SNP to put it into another manifesto there has to be a change of circumstances from last year.”
A TNS poll released on Monday showed the SNP has almost doubled its lead over Labour in the General Election race in Scotland. More than half of adults in Scotland who are certain to vote on May 7 (52%) said they would vote SNP, against 24% backing Labour.
Sturgeon has ruled out supporting a Conservative government and was asked about the subject of a Labour-SNP coalition on The Agenda. She said: “Minority government can be stable and effective and successful and we have proven that so I guess we know how we can contribute to making a minority government work. I believe in Scottish independence but I am also very firm in my view that as long as Scotland remains part of the Westminster system it really matters to the people of Scotland that the decisions made at Westminster are good decisions.”
She added: “What I am trying to say is look, here is a hand of friendship and not be secretive about my support for independence.”