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Sturgeon to demand indyref2 powers days after election

First Minister said she wanted voters to 'demonstrate the desire' for independence.

Nicola Sturgeon will move quickly for indyref2 powers after the election.
Nicola Sturgeon will move quickly for indyref2 powers after the election. PA

Nicola Sturgeon will demand the power to stage a second Scottish independence referendum just days after December's general election.

And the First Minister said she believes Jeremy Corbyn would agree to grant it if he's handed the keys to 10 Downing Street.

The SNP leader called on Scots to "demonstrate the desire" for independence by voting for her party.

When asked at an election rally in Leith, Edinburgh, whether she believes Labour would grant a Section 30 Order to enable a vote on Scottish independence, Ms Sturgeon answered: "Yes."

Explaining her confidence, she added: "I'm a believer in the power of democracy."

She said she would interpret a strong SNP result at the election as an endorsement for another referendum, and urged "savvy" voters to back her party "to make sure Scotland's voice is heard" - even if they are in favour of the union.

"If people in Scotland demonstrate the desire - as I believe they will in this election - for an independence referendum, then I don't believe Westminster opposition to the principle or to the timetable to that will prove to be sustainable," she said.

"Everybody knows there's going to be an independence referendum. The opposition parties might not have got round to conceding that point in public, but they know it and everybody knows it."

While Ms Sturgeon has held talks with Mr Corbyn recently, she revealed they did not discuss the issue of independence.

"The discussions I've had with Jeremy Corbyn over recent months have been understandably about Brexit and the tactics in the House of Commons," she said.

"I met with him last week - that was the most recent occasion - and that was about Brexit and the prospects, as they were then, of an election.

"I don't think Jeremy Corbyn is under any illusions, though, about my position around independence and a referendum."

Claiming that there is a "huge appetite" for both a second Brexit and Scottish referendum in 2020, Ms Sturgeon said she would send a letter "before Christmas" to whoever is in 10 Downing Street requesting powers to hold another vote.

Ms Sturgeon also warned of a future where "you'll have Nigel Farage and Donald Trump pulling Boris Johnson's strings", following the US president's comments that Mr Johnson and the Brexit Party leader working together would be "unstoppable".

She added: "A Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson coalition would be scary, I know Halloween was yesterday, but it's the kind of Halloween monster that no one in Scotland wants to see.

"But whether there's a formal deal between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage or not, everybody knows that the Tory Party is currently morphing into the Brexit Party and that's the future unless Scotland positively and actively chooses an alternative, votes to escape the Brexit horror show and instead puts our future into our own hands."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie accused Labour of being willing to grant another referendum, while he said the Conservatives are "proposing a border down the middle of the Irish Sea". 

He said: "Scotland doesn't need another independence referendum. 

"Scottish Liberal Democrats are now the only ones who can be trusted to stand up for the union. If you want a party who will stand up for Scotland in the UK, you need to vote for the Liberal Democrats." 

Scottish Conservative acting leader Jackson Carlaw said: "Nicola Sturgeon is not listening - she is obsessed with independence and we must send her a message at this general election. 

"People have had enough of the division and we just want to move on. 

"Nicola Sturgeon and I can finally agree on one thing. There's little doubt now that as prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn would cave in to the SNP on another referendum immediately. 

"Given that, it's little wonder Nicola Sturgeon is already having private chats with him. 

"She is rolling out the red carpet for him because she knows he'll give her what she craves - another independence referendum."

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