Scotland’s fervour for independence will remain even if First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stands aside as Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, Express.co.uk was told. The news puts the UK in jeopardy, with Scottish independence being painted as an “inevitability”. Robert Johns, Professor in Politics at Essex University who is an investigator on the Scottish Election Study, told of how myriad factors had led to this sentiment in the country, with the coronavirus pandemic having accelerated the process considerably.
When asked whether he believed there could be a no Sturgeon, no independence scenario, Professor Johns said: “No, I don’t think there could.
“One of the most striking features of the polls, and the surveys that go deeper than the polls, is that there’s been very little shift away from independence.
“There’s been a gradual shift towards it, and there’s absolutely nothing in public opinion that suggests public support for independence is brittle or short lived.
“I think that Sturgeon is an asset for the SNP more than she is for independence, and I think if she were to leave the leadership that would be a potential dent in the SNP depending on who replaced her.
“But I think it would leave little imprint for support for independence.
“And that’s one of the huge lessons from Scottish politics over the last ten years.
JUST IN: Lockdown exit: Boris urged to ease restrictions as Covid deaths fall
Although a Survation poll carried out over the weekend was the first in 22 not to give the ‘Yes’ camp a lead.
It is widely believed that the SNP will win a majority in Holyrood this May.
In the event, Ms Sturgeon has said she would hold a “legal referendum”.
Yesterday evening, the Scottish Government published emails showing it continued a legal fight with Alex Salmond despite its lawyers advising it was likely to lose.
Ms Sturgeon today appeared in front of the inquiry, giving her own version of events.
Responding to Mr Salmond’s claims that people close to her in the SNP had plotted against him, Ms Sturgeon accused the former SNP leader and First Minister of creating an “alternative reality”.
She added that there was no evidence to back up his allegations.