Nicola Sturgeon sets date for second independence referendum while taking swipe at Tories

The SNP leader slammed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Government in a speech at the Scottish Parliament

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Nicola Sturgeon opened her highly anticipated independence referendum statement by stressing the importance of the democratic rights of people of Scotland.

The SNP leader maintained her strong stance for a second vote for Scotland, emphasising her determination to leave the UK.

She addressed the chamber saying: "Last May, the people of Scotland said yes to an independence referendum by electing a clear majority of MSPs committed to that outcome.

"The democratic decision was clear."

She went on to discuss how Scotland has ultimately paid the price for being a member nation of the UK, and would benefit from leaving.

Condemning Boris Johnson's Government, the SNP leader said: "I fervently hope the Tories lose the next election.

"They thoroughly deserve to."

The First Minister of Scotland addressed Scottish Parliament outlining her plans for a second Scottish referendum
The First Minister of Scotland addressed Scottish Parliament outlining her plans for a second Scottish referendum

She turned to Labour, saying it won't take Scotland back into the EU or even the single market and neither will the Lib Dems.

Ms Sturgeon pursued her ambition to discuss a Section 30 order with Mr Johnson, which would allow Holyrood to pass laws in areas that are normally reserved for Westminster.

These orders have been used 16 times since the devolved Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, and have allowed MSPs to legislate on topics ranging from the construction of railways to reducing the voting age in Scottish elections.

Ms Sturgeon wants to follow the same protocol agreed by David Cameron and Alex Salmond in the last independence referendum.

Ending her address in a punchy manner, the First Minister said: "What I will never do is allow Scottish democracy be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any Prime Minister."

She told MSPs that the Scottish Parliament has a clear democratic mandate to offer Scotland the choice of independence.

Ms Sturgeon has asked Scotland's top law officer, Lord Advocate, to ask the Supreme Court if the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate for a consultative referendum on independence.

The Lord Advocate has agreed and will be lodging the request today.

The court will decide whether it accepts the request and there is no timetable for a decision.

Ms Sturgeon has said she wants a second Scottish independence referendum on 19 October 2023, but indicates how her plans will be challenged by the courts.