The Scottish First Minister is trying to take the legal route to a referendum, using a section 30 order to try and transfer the powers to call an independence vote from Westminster to Holyrood. In recent months, there has also been a sustained rise in support for independence, polling suggests. Polling last month by Panelbase shows 55 percent are in favour of breaking with the union, with 45 percent against – an exact reversal of the 2014 referendum result.
But despite the growth in support and ongoing legal row, some pro-independence figures have grown impatient with Ms Sturgeon.
The Scottish government said it will propose the timescale and question for a second referendum on Scotland’s independence by next spring.
Ms Sturgeon pledged the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic would act as an accelerant and not a brake on the SNP’s ambitions.
But many Scottish nationalists wanted a second vote in 2020, leading to frustration from some in Edinburgh.
In February this year, MP Angus MacNeil accused Ms Sturgeon of not making enough progress.
He said: “It may be a bit early to say yet, but if it was me, I’d have a different strategy.
“I would have Ms Sturgeon’s strategy and I’d also have another strategy in parallel so that when something was to hit the brick wall, there was something else to go with it.”
He added: “The SNP conference last autumn didn’t even want to discuss a plan B and went with plan A. It would seem that plan A has hit the brick wall.”
One parliamentarian told the BBC, Ms Sturgeon would look “stupid” if a referendum in 2020 didn’t happen despite those repeated demands.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected calls for a vote earlier this year, claiming the first referendum was supposed to be “once in a generation”.
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“They are in no way legally binding – it’s unclear what a generation means, how long is a generation?
“It has some political plausibility, but the longer this goes on, the less you can rely on that line.
“It is very uncertain. A lot of this depends on public opinion in Scotland.
“If support for independence continues to grow, it will become much harder to hold the line for the UK Government without significant discontent.”