Monday, 29 September 2014

Nicola Sturgeon predicts independence 'one day' as she launches bid to replace Alex Salmond

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “more convinced than ever” that Scotland will one day be independent, but made it clear it would only happen when Scots “choose that course in the polling booth”.

Launching her bid to replace Alex Salmond as First Minister, she distanced her from his suggestion at the weekend that there could be short-cuts to separation, and that Scotland could “declare” independence once the Scottish Parliament had sufficient powers.

Ms Sturgeon, who has been Deputy First Minister since the nationalists came to power at Holyrood seven years ago, is the clear favourite to take over from Mr Salmond, who announced he was stepping down after Scotland rejected independence.

She said she was not preparing for another referendum and the timing would be dictated by circumstances, including the outcome of any in/out referendum on the EU.

But she also refused to rule out the possibility of a commitment to a referendum being part of the SNP’s manifesto as early as the 2016 Holyrood election, saying: “If there is a commitment to a referendum in a manifesto of the SNP at an election and we win that election then that is a mandate for a referendum."

Ms Sturgeon, 44, who has already been endorsed by most of the Cabinet and may not face a leadership contest, also said she would be a “willing partner for progress" in talks about transferring responsibility for more areas to the Scottish Parliament.

She added: "I believe as strongly today as I did last week that independence is the best future for Scotland. And I am more convinced than ever that we will become an independent country. But that will happen only when the people of Scotland choose that course in the polling booth.

“I accept that last week the majority did not choose that future at this time. 1.6 million people is a remarkable number, but it wasn't enough.

“So my task will be to lead Scotland into an exciting new chapter in our national story. To unite our nation around a common purpose so that we can write that story together, and do so in a way that lives up to the hopes, aspirations and expectations of a country that is, on both sides, engaged, inspired and empowered by the referendum experience."

Ms Sturgeon said it would be the “greatest honour” and an “immense responsibility” to become First Minister of Scotland at such an “exciting and optimistic time”.

"I am putting myself forward for two simple reasons: I want to serve my party and my country,” she said. “And I believe I am the best person for the job.

"I also hope that my candidacy, should it succeed, will send a strong message to every girl and young woman in Scotland - no matter your background or what you want to achieve in life, in Scotland in 2014 there is no glass ceiling on ambition."

Her candidacy will also trigger an election for the post of Deputy First Minister. The winners of both will be chosen in a postal ballot of all 52,000 party members, with the results to be announced at the SNP conference in Perth on November 13.

The 26,000 new members the SNP has recruited since the independence referendum will be entitled to vote, as long as they signed up before Wednesday.

Paying tribute to Mr Salmond, she said he had transformed the SNP and made Scotland a better place, adding: “He also helped to make me the person and politician I am today."

Adding that she planned a “different approach” after the referendum, she said: “His are big boots to fill, but if given the opportunity to lead, I will wear my own shoes, and they will certainly have higher heels. I will be my own person and set my own course.

"We would not have come so far as a nation without Alex's vision, tenacity and statesmanship.

"But the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow require a different approach. They will demand the ability, not just to argue a case with determination and conviction, but also to reach out, to work with others and seek common cause on the issues that unite us."

She pledged to hold the UK parties to account on their "vow" of delivering more powers to Scotland's devolved parliament.

Reactions:

0 comments :

 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...