SNP Leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is coming under increasing pressure over her overly-cautious approach on gaining independence from the United Kingdom.
To the SNP rank and file, in addition to wider elements in the Scottish nationalist movement, there has never been a better time for a determined push for independence.
The chaos engendered by Brexit, in addition to London’s loosening grip on the UK periphery, has emboldened Scottish nationalists of all stripes.
Sturgeon, who is also Scotland’s First Minister, appeared today to be trying to divert attention by refocusing pressure on Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme today, Sturgeon said Corbyn should not “even bother picking up the phone” to ask the SNP to support his bid for the premiership unless he is willing to accept “Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.
In the interview Sturgeon made clear that votes from SNP MPs, which comprise the third-largest group in the House of Commons, would be conditional on the new Prime Minister approving a Scottish independence referendum.
Sturgeon’s thinly-veiled swipe at Corbyn will come as a surprise to many political observers as the Labour leader has never, in principle, opposed a Scottish independence referendum.
Indeed, during a trip to Scotland in late August, Corbyn said that a Labour government will not block a new Scottish independence referendum as long as it was based on a “fresh mandate”.
By contrast, the current Tory government is politically and ideologically opposed to a Scottish independence referendum.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel, told the same Andrew Marr programme that ministers were determined to “respect the result of referendums that took place previously”.
Sturgeon’s swipe at Corbyn is unlikely to placate Scottish independence supporters who are calling for a so-called “Plan B” in the event that London blocks the legal route to independence.
For her part, the SNP leader appears determined to follow the conventional route by requesting a “section 30” order (the mechanism required to hold an independence referendum).
Sturgeon told Andrew Marr that she will be making a section 30 request “over the next matter of weeks – it is coming soon”.