Nicola Sturgeon questioned on Covid daily briefings
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Due to the backlash from the Alex Salmond inquiry, 50 percent of the electorate now do not want independence if the SNP were to secure a majority in the Holyrood elections. According to a YouGov poll, 51 percent now support staying apart of the UK, against 49 in favour of independence regardless of the Holyrood election. That represents a complete reverse of the poll’s finding last November as the SNP’s independence hopes now remain unclear.
In a further blow to Ms Sturgeon in the poll conducted on behalf of The Times, 48 percent are opposed to a ballot being held before 2023.
Just 33 percent are in favour of an independence referendum before 2023, seven years after the first independence referendum.
Ahead of the Holyrood elections in May, polling expert, professor Sir John Curtice from Strathclyde University, said the inquiry over Mr Salmond has put doubt in the support for the SNP.
He said: “The SNP cannot afford to lose many supporters if they are to win an overall majority in May.
“And there is a minority of former SNP voters, around one in eight, who do not believe that Ms Sturgeon has been telling the truth about her involvement in the Salmond saga.
“Today’s poll suggests that some of them at least are no longer inclined to back the party in May.”
Before the inquiry, the SNP had pledged to hold an independence referendum before the end of the year if they gain a majority in Holyrood.
Including today’s poll, the surveys have indicated a fall in support for independence following the clash between the Scottish Government and Mr Salmond.
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A separate Savanta ComRes survey showed 46 percent would vote against independence in comparison to just 43 percent who would vote ‘yes’.
The SNP holds 61 seats in Holyrood ahead of the Scottish Tories with 30 and Labour 23.
However, in the same survey from YouGov, the party is expected to win 71 seats in the parliament, which would then give the SNP a majority of 13 seats.
In the same poll, the Tories would fall to 29 MSPs, while Labour would lose four seats to 20.
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The Lib Dems would remain on five while the Greens would lose one, dropping to four.
Despite requests from the SNP, Westminster has claimed it will not sanction another independence referendum.
Indeed, the Prime Minister has claimed the 2014 vote had been a once in a lifetime vote and therefore, could not be held again.
Ms Sturgeon has also expressed her desire to hold a vote on EU membership should Scotland become independent.
Setting out her Government’s plan, she said: “As we look to the future the fundamental question before people in Scotland is this – who has the right to decide the kind of country we should be?
“Should it be the people who live here or should it be the likes of Boris Johnson?
“I believe it is for the people of Scotland to decide.
“A Westminster government that we didn’t vote for is taking Scotland in the wrong direction with a disastrous Brexit and a record of austerity that has damaged public services.”
YouGov’s poll for The Times interviewed 1,100 people between March 4-8.
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