Nicola Sturgeon kicked off this year’s Autumn SNP Conference in Glasgow by announcing that the draft legislation for IndyRef2 will be published next week. Also this week David Mundell suggests that new powers are coming to Holyrood and new polling shows that Brexit has not been the game changer for Independence it was anticipated to be.
The draft Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week Nicola Sturgeon announced as she opened the SNP conference in Glasgow. In her speech Sturgeon insisted that there has been a material change in circumstances since 2014 by citing the perceived “broken promises” of the Tory Government in Westminster including the previous assertion that Sewel Convention would be held as “sacrosanct” and that the UK Government would not make laws affecting devolved areas.
The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have all confirmed that they intend to vote against the bill should it be brought before Holyrood and called on the SNP to focus on the bread and butter issues of government. The Greens, on the other hand, have welcomed the announcement of the consultation commenting, “Independence may be Scotland’s best hope of remaining in the EU, and it’s right that preparations are made and the case continues to be built.” If the Greens supported the Bill their 6 votes added to the SNP’s 69 would be enough for a majority.
Sturgeon said that the SNP would shortly put forward plans for substantial new powers to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament as part of the UK’s Article 50 negotiations. This will cover all powers within devolved areas which currently sit in Brussels being transferred to Holyrood as well as “powers to strike international deals” and greater powers over immigration.
Sturgeon also announced that Angus Robertson has been elected as the party’s new Deputy Leader, having beaten Tommy Sheppard MP, Alyn Smith MEP and Cllr Chris McEleny to the post.
Brexit will change devolution settlements says David Mundell
The Scottish Secretary’s comments from earlier in the week suggest that Sturgeon will be successful in her campaign for further powers for Holyrood. At Scottish Questions in Westminster on Wednesday David Mundell said it was “self-evident” that devolution settlements would be changed by Brexit.
Mundell was asked by Glasgow MP Carol Monaghan; “Given that Brexit continues to be billed as taking back control, can the Secretary of State tell us which powers that are currently controlled by Brussels will the UK Government commit to giving to Holyrood and which will be re-reserved to Westminster?”
“It’s self-evident that, because the devolution settlements within the United Kingdom are predicated on the basis that the United Kingdom was a member of the European Union, then those devolution settlements will be changed by the United Kingdom leaving the EU and those will be matters which will be subject to debate and discussion,” Mundell responded.
Regardless of whether the new Independence Bill is put before the Scottish Parliament for a vote, it seems as though more powers are headed to Holyrood.
New polling on Independence shows just 1 in 10 swayed by Brexit
New polling was published on Thursday that suggests that Brexit has not been the political game changer that the SNP had hoped for in the campaign for independence. The BMG survey, commissioned by The Herald, concluded that even a “hard Brexit” where Scotland was pulled out of the single market would sway only 12% of Scots currently against holding a second referendum. Overall the survey found that 47% of Scots are against Indyref2, 38% are in favour and 12% are undecided. Respondents were then asked if a hard Brexit would change their minds. When responses to this follow up question were factored in BMG found that 43% backed a second referendum compared to 42% against and 15% undecided.