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A study undertaken by Survation shows the percentage amid the coronavirus pandemic with Scots claiming the First Minister should be focusing on tackling the pandemic. Nicola Sturgeon had said that a second independence referendum should happen in the “earlier part” of the next Holyrood term.
Asked if it would happen in 2021, Ms Sturgeon said she had neither “ruled it out nor ruled it in” while SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford committed to having a vote next year.
But in the poll, when asked about the timing of another referendum, 66 percent said a vote should not take place in 2021.
Only 21 percent supported the idea of a vote taking place next year whilst 13 percent were not sure.
More than two-thirds (69 percent) of Conservative voters echoed Scottish Secretary Alister Jack’s comments of a vote being a “once in a generation” opportunity.
They said a vote should not take place next year and wanted to wait for more than four years while 45 percent of Labour and 55 percent of Liberal Democrat voters felt the same way.
Asked how much they agreed that the Scottish Government should prioritise dealing with the recovery from COVID-19 before an independence referendum, 78 percent of people said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed.
Of the SNP voters who were part of the study, 64 percent also said they would prefer the Scottish Government to prioritise Covid recovery over a referendum.
The poll, commissioned by Scottish Labour, rejects a referendum next year after 16 polls this year showed support for Scottish independence.
Richard Leonard, leader of Scottish Labour, said: “Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have suggested holding an independence referendum next year.
“But now is not the time for another referendum.
“The Scottish Government should instead be fully focused on the recovery from the public health and economic crises which 13 years of SNP rule left Scotland unprepared to face.”
Anas Sarwar MSP, Constitution spokesperson for Scottish Labour, said it was a “gross insult” the SNP was talking about the prospect of a second vote in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
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He added: “Talk of this hypothetical situation is nothing but a distraction from what our focus should be – pulling our people together and rebuilding our country.”
It comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is to commit the party to deliver a new wave of devolution across the UK as he seeks to head off demands for Scottish independence.
In a keynote speech on Monday, he will say the party’s next manifesto will set out a programme to win power “in order to push as much power as possible away from Westminster”.
The Labour leader will say that he is offering “a positive alternative to the Scottish people” while at the same time seeking “to preserve and renew the United Kingdom”.
The survey was carried out between December 4 and 9 and asked 1,010 people across the country aged 16 and over for their views.
The SNP has been approached for comment on the matter.
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