Nicola Sturgeon grilled by Ruth Davidson during FMQs
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Nicola Sturgeon said she planned to set out “bold plans to rebuild the country and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands” in the wake of opinion polls seeing dwindling support for independence. Predictions for a large SNP majority have also been reduced to just a narrow win. Ms Sturgeon’s announcement about Scotland’s future plans side-stepped the ongoing controversy about how her Government handled allegations against former First Minister Alex Salmond for sexual harassment.
Ms Sturgeon’s dwindling support came in one of two new surveys confirming the majority of Scottish voters would opt to stay in the Union.
The findings emerged from the surveys as the Daily Express conducted its own poll, which showed 51 percent of people in Scotland were opposed to breaking away from Westminster.
A Savanta ComRes survey conducted by the Scotsman, which quizzed 1,009 people aged 16 and over between March 5 and March 10, found a minority of Scots – 45 percent – would back a divorce at this point in time.
Almost half said they would vote ‘no’ to the separation, while eight percent of people said they weren’t sure, the survey revealed.
When extracting the voters sitting on the fence, the findings showed 51 percent would vote in favour of retaining the union, while 49 percent would support a bid for independence.
Another poll, conducted by YouGov in the Times, found support for the UK staying together sat at 51 percent, compared to 48 percent of Scots who said they wouldn’t support a referendum conducted before 2023.
The YouGov survey was based on 1,100 people and was carried out between March 4 and March 8.
This is compared to just 33 percent of the country saying they’re in favour of ploughing ahead with a national vote.
The poll predicts the SNP will bring back 71 MSPs (Members of Scottish Parliament); an increase of eight, giving the party a majority of 13.
The number of Conservative MSPs could drop by two, down to 29, while the Labour Party’s representation would fall by four to 20.
The Greens would drop one and retain four MSPs, while the Liberal Democrats are expected to remain with five.
However, the Scotsman poll indicates the SNP is no longer on track for a sweeping majority in Holyrood this May – instead expected to get by with 64 MSPs.
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Pamela Nash, Chief Executive of Scotland in Union, said: “There is a clear trend in rising support for remaining part of the UK.
“With a successful UK vaccination programme and UK-wide support for jobs and businesses, it’s clear that we are stronger together.
“The SNP’s negative vision to divide Scotland is being rejected and the people of Scotland want the focus to be on bringing our country together and building a successful future.”
SNP’s deputy leader, Keith Brown, said: “This is the most important election in Scotland’s history and it comes down to a stark choice – who should decide the country’s future.
“Should it be the people of Scotland, or Boris Johnson?
“Polls are tightening with the vital Scottish Parliamentary election in just eight weeks’ time – and there is no room for complacency.
“Both votes SNP will re-elect Nicola Sturgeon to lead Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic and build a fairer and greener nation, with a focus on our schools, our NHS and delivering the right to choose a better future in a post-pandemic referendum.”
The Scottish election will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021, and will see 129 MSPs elected in the sixth election since the Parliament was re-established in 1999.
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