IndyRef2: John Curtice says that there’s ‘a lot of homework to do’
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In line with Nicola Sturgeon’s belief, the former Labour leader said “the pressure is there” for a new vote on the issue. He attacked Boris Johnson for his refusal to grant the SNP their wish to have a fresh referendum.
Ms Sturgeon has said she has a mandate for a ballot on the future of Scotland after a majority of MSPs supporting independence were elected to the Holyrood parliament in May.
“I don’t believe that it’s a good idea to prevent people expressing a point of view and an opinion, and obviously that is what democracy has to be about,” Mr Corbyn told BBC Scotland’s Drivetime programme last night.
“I’m strongly in support of people having their voice, therefore an independence referendum is something that I believe will happen probably within a few years.”
Ms Sturgeon has committed to going ahead and holding a referendum as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar have both refused to support IndyRef2.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also ruled out support, saying “now is not the time” for a vote.
Legally the Scottish government must have consent from Westminster before it can hold a referendum, although Ms Sturgeon has vowed to plough on regardless.
While no longer in the Labour leadership role, Mr Corbyn still has considerable influence across the country with his supporters likely to be affected by what he says.
His remarks are a stern reminder of what could have happened if he had won the 2019 general election.
Seizing on Mr Corbyn’s remarks, SNP MSP Paul McLennan demanded the Labour leadership also back IndyRef2.
He said: “As each week passes, Anas Sarwar becomes more and more isolated in opposing a referendum in Scotland.
“There is a cast-iron mandate for an independence referendum when the Covid crisis is over – as expressed by the people in May’s Holyrood election.
“Anas Sarwar led Labour to their worst ever result in that election – and if he continues to side with Boris Johnson’s Trumpian-style denial of Scottish democracy, Labour will only slide further into the abyss.
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“More and more people can see that Scottish Labour are a party with zero credibility, whose main policy appears to be protecting Westminster control over Scotland.
“Instead, they should show a bit of belief in the people of Scotland to make a grown-up decision about their own future – and the option of using Scotland’s immense human and natural resources to build a sustainable recovery from Covid.”
However, there is still no majority appetite for a new referendum among the Scottish electorate.
A poll by Savanta ComRes found, regardless of timing, only 45 percent said there should be a second vote.
A total of 47 percent said they oppose IndyRef2 and nine percent said they did not know.
If there was a new referendum, 45 percent of Scots said they would back yes, 48 percent would vote no, and seven percent said they were unsure.
With the ‘don’t knows’ excluded, it means support for independence stood at 48 percent compared to 52 percent who wished to remain in the United Kingdom.
Savana ComRes asked 1,005 Scottish adults aged 16 and over for their views between October 22 and 28.
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