Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to delay her referendum vote
Alex Neil, one of Sturgeon’s most senior colleagues, is expected to tell Holyrood today that another independence referendum without more support among polling figures could damage the Nationalists’ hopes of clinching independence from Westminster.
Mr Neil told the Telegraph that Sturgeon needs to “make sure people are with us” before deciding upon an independence vote.
His remarks come ahead of a two-day debate in the Scottish Parliament regarding independence.
However the former Health Minister is expected to vote with his fellow SNP colleagues and Green MSP counterparts to pass a motion that would give the First Minister the authority to ask Theresa May for another independence vote – which the Prime Minister could slap down.
The desperate warnings from Mr Neil have been echoed from among the Conservatives – with Theresa May herself claiming that “now is not the time”.
Alex Neil MSP has told Sturgeon to hold back on her independence referendum
Mr Neil said: “One of the things we have to watch is that we take the people with us when the time comes.
“To maximise our chances of winning a Yes vote in a referendum, we have to make sure people are with us on the need for the referendum itself.”
Opinion polls within Scotland have shown the majority of people living in Britain’s northernmost nation do not want another independence vote within two years of Brexit talks.
The Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, claimed that voters are “sick to death” of the SNP’s desperate ploys to “bulldoze” them into another referendum.
Ruth Davidson has blasted Sturgeon for her indepednce calls
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Ms Davidson has also accused Sturgeon of interpreting the Brexit vote to escape the clutches of the EU as a way engineering a mandate to also leave the union.
Sturgeon attempted to justify her second independence rally-cry by claiming that if Mrs May bowed down to her complex demands to keep Scotland within the single market, then other referendum could be avoided.
The First Minister’s muddled approach to single market access was cause for confusion among the Liberal Democrats, after Scottish leader Willie Rennie claimed she was unwilling to guarantee EU membership after an independence vote.
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He said: “For the SNP their mandate for another referendum is based on the European Union. But now the SNP tell us they will not seek or guarantee membership of the European Union with their referendum.
"They are cynically courting the one in three independence supporters who backed Brexit. So they will use pro-Europeans to get a referendum but sell them out to win independence. It is low politics for narrow gain.”