Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she is confident that a second independence referendum could take place in October next year despite objections from the British government.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss has refused to grant permission for a referendum in Scotland. On Tuesday, Britain's Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments for allowing a secession vote without approval from Truss and her government.
Sturgeon made the comments in an interview on Sunday during the annual Scottish National Party (SNP) conference in Aberdeen.
Sturgeon argued that as voters backed pro-independence parties in elections for the Scottish parliament last year, there was a mandate for them to bring forward a bill to hold a referendum on Oct. 19, 2023.
Asked whether she was confident that will happen, Sturgeon said: "Yes, I am confident that can happen."
"Let's wait and see what the court says. I am confident Scotland is going to become independent."
Sturgeon has said that defeat in the Supreme Court would mean the SNP would fight the next British election, which is scheduled to be held in 2024, on a platform of whether Scotland should be independent, making it a 'de facto' referendum.
Sturgeon said on Sunday that was a last resort.
"That is not my preference," she said. "If the route by which it would be right to consider and decide this issue, which is a lawful constitutional referendum, is blocked ... the choice is then simple: We put our case to people in an election or we give up on Scottish democracy and I want to be very clear today I will never, ever give up on Scottish democracy."
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to grant the Scottish government the authority to hold a second independence referendum, saying he “cannot agree that now is the time to return” to the independence question.
In a letter to Sturgeon, he argued in July that the 2014 vote had been supposed to be a once-in-a-generation event, and another referendum was not a priority for Scottish voters concerned with the cost of living crisis, education and health standards, and lately the war in Ukraine.
England and Scotland have been united since 1707 and another referendum, if the Scots vote out, would fracture the UK once again after Irish independence which took place a century ago.