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SNP push to have ‘indyref2’ mentioned on May’s ballot paper

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon - Credit: PA

The SNP has requested to get indyref2 on the ballot paper at the Holyrood election in May.

According to The Herald, Nicola Sturgeon’s party requested to have “Vote SNP for indyref2” and “Both votes SNP for indyref2” included on the ballot paper.



The party also lodged a request to register “Nicola Sturgeon for SNP First Minister” as another party description.

This comes as the SNP threatens to hold a referendum on independence without Westminster’s permission if it secures a majority in this year’s Holyrood election.

At last year’s SNP conference, Sturgeon pledged to hold a vote in the early part of the next parliament.

Boris Johnson has so far ruled out granting a Section 30 order, which would allow for a new vote to go ahead.

In response, the SNP this year released an 11-point plan of what to do in that instance.

It is understood that if the term “indyref2” appears on the ballot paper, the mandate, should the SNP win a majority, would be hard to argue against.

Recently the Tories and Liberals Democrats asked the Electoral Commission for permission to register anti-referendum slogans, with a focus on the country’s recovery. The Tories requested “End Division, No Referendum, Rebuild Scotland” and “Not Another Referendum, Time for Recovery”. Meanwhile, the UK Lib Dems went for “Scottish Liberal Democrats – Put Recovery First”.

Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael said the indyref2 slogans would show voters in “black and white” that the SNP want to prioritise another independence vote “ahead of health and education and jobs”.

Support for independence reached 58% last year but has since dipped in recent weeks. This is believed to be linked to the recent troubles between Sturgeon and former first minister Alex Salmond, the success of the UK’s vaccination drive, and a tiring of lockdown restrictions.

The Electoral Commission may take several weeks to decide on whether the slogans can be used.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government is preparing to publish a bill in the coming days setting out the timing and potential question for a new referendum.

Constitution secretary Michael Russell rejected Tory claims that the bill is a “momentous distraction” – saying Scots can decide in May whether they want a chance to vote on the nation’s future.

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