Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford said Westminster has to 'respect the right of the people that live in Scotland to determine their own future'
There should be a second Scottish independence referendum in 2020, the SNP's Westminster leader has told Sky News.

Ian Blackford said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "has to be" ready for another public vote on the issue if he becomes prime minister.

Mr Corbyn told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he would not contemplate a fresh independence referendum for the first few years of a Labour government.

'We're not going into coalition with anybody'

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Blackford said: "I think he (Jeremy Corbyn) has to be (ready) and I'd simply say to Jeremy Corbyn that we have a mandate for an independence referendum already that was won in the 2016 election, the election to the Scottish Parliament that the SNP won.


Comment: Scotland would have won the vote for independence in 2014 but it was rigged.


"And there is an independence majority within that parliament.

"So I'd simply say to Jeremy and indeed anybody else that may be in 10 Downing Street that they have to respect democracy, and they have to respect the right of the people that live in Scotland to determine their own future.

"We're putting legislation through the Scottish parliament now that will enable that to take place.

"That referendum should take place in 2020."

Asked about the prospect of a referendum, Mr Corbyn told Sky News it was "not our priority" but did not explicitly rule out allowing one to take place in the future.

He said: "We want to put £70bn investment into Scotland and we certainly would not countenance it in the early days, early years of a Labour government."

Mr Corbyn added: "We don't think independence is a good idea."


Comment: Worryingly, he feels the same about the overwhelming democratic vote for Brexit: Polls show Corbyn is the most unpopular opposition leader since 1977


The Labour leader ruled out a coalition with the SNP, saying his party was "not going into coalition with anybody".

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, has made clear that support for an independence referendum would be her party's price for backing any party in the wake of an election.

Scotland's first minister said she would favour a "progressive type of alliance" if the Conservatives were removed from power.

She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "But I say this to Jeremy Corbyn or any Westminster leader who's looking to the SNP for support, if you don't accept Scotland's right to choose our own future at a time of our own choosing, don't even bother picking up the phone to me."

Ms Sturgeon said she will request UK government consent for another independence referendum before the end of the year.

She said she will ask Downing Street for a Section 30 order "over the next matter of weeks" as she pushes on with her plan to hold a vote in the second half of 2020.