Nicola Sturgeon offers Queen bottle of whisky in meeting just day after announcing referendum plans
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has met with the Queen – less than 24 hours after unveiling plans for a second Scottish independence referendum
The monarch, 96, held an audience with the Scottish First Minister, as well as one with Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone.
Pictures of the two women together show the leader of the SNP offering Her Majesty a £150 bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky.
The meetings took place at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, where the Queen is staying for Holyrood week, during which the Royal Family traditionally carries out a number of engagements north of the border.
The meetings were in private, with no details of the conversations revealed.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen had received both the Presiding Officer and the First Minister.
SNP policy is to retain the Queen as head of state if Scotland becomes independent.
Speaking ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this month, Ms Sturgeon praised the “life and service of an extraordinary woman” as she paid tribute to the Queen.
Yesterday, Ms Sturgeon announced plans for a second Scottish independence referendum on October 19 2023, despite political opponents calling it a “pretend poll”.
The vote’s legality will be determined by the Supreme Court in order to settle the argument about the Scottish Government’s right to hold a referendum, she said.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said his party will not participate in an illegal referendum.
Opposition MSPs have told the First Minister to stop putting the “priorities of Scots on the backburner” with the independence “obsession”.
It follows Ms Sturgeon’s ministerial statement to MSPs where she emphasised plans for an “indisputably lawful” referendum to take place.
In the event the court rules the proposals are outside of the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, the next general election will become “de facto referendum”, she said.
The Scottish Government requires a Section 30 order to legally hold a referendum – but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear this is not going to be granted.
Ms Sturgeon said a judicial determination will prevent doubt being cast on the legal basis for a referendum.
The Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain, the Scottish Government’s chief legal officer, had referred the matter to the Supreme Court.
“The process for serving the requisite paperwork on the UK Government by lawyers and messengers at arms in underway.
“And I can confirm that the referendum will be filed with the supreme court this afternoon.”
She continued: “If it does transpire that there is no lawful way for this Parliament to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum and if the UK Government continues to deny a Section 30 order, my party will face the UK general election on this single question: should Scotland be an independent country?”