TV confession

Sturgeon says she’ll probably quit if indyref vote lost

Nicola Sturgeon said she would probably step down

Nicola Sturgeon has said she would almost certainly resign as First Minister if she failed to secure a vote for Scottish independence in a referendum.

The SNP leader, who is committed to staging another poll next year, told a TV audience she would likely follow the example of her predecessor Alex Salmond who stood down after the party lost in 2014.

Her likely resignation after a similar outcome emerged after she was pressed during an appearance on ITV’s Loose Women.

Ms Sturgeon, who is 51, initially dodged the question about how she would respond to losing another referendum.

She said she did not want to get into “hypotheticals” but later clarified that in the event of another No vote, she would probably step aside.

“I suspect I would make way for somebody else, but I’m not contemplating that at the moment,” she said.

She said. “I’m not about to give it up but when I do I hopefully will still be relatively young and I do look forward to the possibility of doing other things later in life.”

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Pamela Nash, chief executive of the anti-independence group Scotland in Union, said: “If Nicola Sturgeon thinks failure to deliver a key policy is a reason to stand down, she should reflect on her failure to deliver her promise to prioritise education, her failure to meet hospital waiting times, and her failure to cut drug deaths.”

Despite Ms Sturgeon’s commitment to another referendum, the decision to allow one to take place is reserved to Westminster and the Conservative government has ruled out granting such a poll. There have been suggestions that the SNP would fight its case in the courts.

The First Minister rejected comparisons between her failure to wear a face covering while inside a barber shop at the weekend – which prompted an approach by the police – and Boris Johnson’s fine for being at a party during lockdown.

Ms Sturgeon said she owned up to the mistake while the prime minister had misled the House of Commons and the public about events in Downing Street.

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