Scottish Leader Downplays Independence Talk, Seeks to Build Power Base

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday played down the chances of a second independence referendum anytime soon, instead urging her nationalist party to build up its power base before elections next year.

Sturgeon opened her Scottish National Party’s annual conference with a speech designed to shift the focus away from the prospect of another referendum after last year’s failed independence bid and onto expanding the party’s power base.

Scots rejected independence by 55 percent to 45 in a hard-fought referendum last September. But support for the SNP has surged, raising hopes among some members that a second vote on breaking more than three centuries of union with England could come within a few years.

“I believe with all my heart that Scotland should be an independent country. But I respect the decision that our country made last year,” Sturgeon told party activists in the Scottish city of Aberdeen.

Sturgeon reiterated her position that no one should stand in the way if Scotland wanted another a second referendum, but that it would require a sustained shift in public opinion or a major event like Britain leaving the European Union.

Before elections to Scotland’s devolved parliament in May, Sturgeon wants to capitalise on collapsing support for Britain’s main opposition Labour Party by promoting an anti-austerity agenda to challenge the ruling Conservative Party.


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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.