Nicola Sturgeon has called for the timing of any future Scottish independence referendum to be determined by “data not dates”, despite the party previously committing to hold a referendum by the end of 2023.
In a wide-ranging speech to the SNP’s annual conference, the First Minister also criticised the UK government’s new Nationality and Borders Bill as a “stain on this westminster government”, called on spreaders of vaccine misinformation to “cease and desist” and labelled the planned cut to universal credit as exposing “an absence of basic humanity”.
But it was her plea that “democracy must and will prevail” which outlined the case for independence, highlighting the newly elected Scottish parliament and government which is now composed of pro-independence majorities.
Earlier in the conference, party delegates voted 535 to 10 in favour of holding a second referendum without the people of Scotland’s “health well-being and future economic potential being compromised”, which supports Nicola Sturgeon’s stance.
The vote margin reflects the relative unity the party now has following the defection of several supporters of Alex Salmond to his Alba party.
This party unity also strengthened the SNP’s case for entering into an agreement with the Scottish Greens, whose stance on trans rights and the Gender Recognition Act, the SNP are now more in tandem with.
In her conference speech, Sturgeon said she was “delighted by the agreement”, adding that “the SNP is not resting on our laurels, instead challenging ourselves in the interests of those we serve”.
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