Humza Yousaf to use next general election to demand independence referendum

Humza Yousaf discusses his hopes for Scottish independence

Humza Yousaf has set out plans to use the next general election to demand a fresh Scottish independence referendum if the SNP wins the most seats north of the border.

The Scottish First Minister said the SNP’s manifesto will make clear on “page one, line one” that a vote for the nationalist party is direct support for independence.

He said a majority of seats in Scotland would be considered a mandate to push for indyref2.

The SNP leader added that he was being forced to do so because a second ballot has been “denied time and time again” by Westminster.

Mr Yousaf told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “Our preferred option, the option for which we have multiple mandates for, the option which the majority of the Scottish Parliament backs, is of course for that legally binding referendum.

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“That has been denied time and time again by the UK Government.

“So my message is pretty simple, we will use the next general election to test the proposition.

“We will put a very simple proposition to the people of Scotland on page one, line one, of our manifesto: a vote for the SNP is a vote for Scotland to become an independent country.

“If we win that general election we will seek to negotiation with the UK Government how we give democratic effect to that proposition.

“We’re only going down this route of course because the UK Government continues to deny us the right to a referendum.”

The two main parties at Westminster – Labour and the Conservatives – have said they will not grant a referendum.

And the latest PanelBase poll predicts the SNP will take 21 of the available 59 Scottish seats at the next election – down from their current 45 – while Scottish Labour are predicted to win 26 seats, meaning the SNP could fall short of the majority sought by Mr Yousaf.

Pressed on what he would do if Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer refuses, he said: “I would put it to Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak very simply, you continue to tell Scotland that this is a voluntary union then prove it.

“If you’re saying that you can’t have your independence via a referendum, I’m afraid we will not accept any mandate that’s given to you via a general election.

“This is a voluntary union, how on earth does Scotland become independent?”

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Mr Yousaf used the SNP’s independence convention at Dundee’s Caird Hall yesterday to set out his vision for breaking up the UK.

Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said: “Humza Yousaf’s latest push of his independence obsession appears to be an even more extreme version of Nicola Sturgeon’s unpopular de facto referendum strategy.

“He knows fine well that Scots will be voting on a number of issues, but Humza Yousaf – the self-styled first activist – has thrown another slab of red meat to nationalists to deflect from the chaos engulfing his party.

“The SNP delegation that bothered to turn up to Dundee are speaking to themselves about their number one priority while people are struggling with the global cost-of-living crisis and our public services are under incredible pressure.”

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