Nicola Sturgeon pushes independence again at COP 26
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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met US President Joe Biden at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow on Wednesday. The two leaders were pictured shaking hands during a reception at the city’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Their encounter comes as world leaders have descended on Glasgow for the two-week UN summit. As the leader of a devolved nation of the UK, Mrs Sturgeon has not been party to the negotiations at COP26.
However, Scotland’s First Minister has still controversially drawn attention to herself and her Scottish National Party (SNP).
She was forced to deny claims that she was using COP26 to bolster the SNP’s Scottish independence bid after the party published adverts about the summit in newspapers, referring to Scotland as “a nation in waiting”.
If Mrs Sturgeon’s administration achieves its aim of a UK-breakaway, she is likely to draw further controversy, according to Dr Nick Ritchie at the University of York.
The politics expert told Express.co.uk that the SNP’ would likely have to “compromise” over its desired removal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent,
He said that the SNP would struggle to remove the nuclear-armed submarines from their current location on the River Clyde in the hypothetical event Scotland does secede from the UK.
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Dr Ritchie was asked about the reaction of SNP supporters if Trident was kept in an independent Scotland, possibly in a newly-created UK sovereign territory.
He said: “You have to consider where the politics would be then, this would come about in terms of the possibility of the SNP giving way on their position.
“This would come about after the SNP had scored this historic victory of independence, and it will be basking in the glow of that political victory of securing independence.
“Then will come the negotiations subsequently, so one can imagine a situation in which some kind of a compromise had to be reached over the continued basing of the Trident nuclear weapons system in Scotland in a sovereign base.
“This wouldn’t be sovereign territory of the Scottish state, this would be part of the sovereign territory of the rest of the UK.
“One can imagine that that will be difficult to sell politically.
“But, if it was put to the Scottish people in a newly independent Scotland as, ‘this is the trade-off, we reached this agreement with London on basing Trident’.
“Perhaps there would be a timeframe around that, perhaps it will be based here for 20 years, that gives 20 years to find some other solution.”
Scots rejected seceding from the UK at the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.
The idea of holding another public vote – often dubbed Indyref2 – was revitalised after Mrs Sturgeon led the SNP to victory at the Scottish Parliament election in May of this year.
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The First Minister said she would deliver a new referendum by 2023 if the COVID-19 pandemic permits.
However, support for Scottish independence has cooled this year after reaching a record high of 59 percent last October.
Opinion polls over the last six months show that the number of people backing an independent Scotland is between four and eight points behind those who want it to remain in the UK.
To SNP would also likely be hampered by the Westminster Government’s possible leverage in any negotiations over Trident, according to Dr Ritchie.
He said Mrs Sturgeon’s administration may have to cede ground to the UK on its anti-nuclear stance in exchange for agreements on using Pound Sterling, Scotland’s entry to international institutions and other forms of economic support.
He said: “That might be how an independent Scottish Government will have to sell it.
“Or they might not, they may say ‘we’ve got independence now’.
“‘It’s not in the UK’s interests to make things really economically difficult because it will harm them as much as it harms us.
“‘And they’re just going to have to suck it up on Trident’.
“You can imagine it either way at the moment, but I don’t think it’s nailed on either way, it will depend on the politics around a successful referendum.”
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