The Scottish First Minister dealt the hard-liners of her party yet another blow this week after insisting she would not attempt to stay a “wildcat” referendum if the SNP wins a majority at the Holyrood election. This came after Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross claimed Ms Sturgeon was ready and willing to hold an “illegal” referendum if Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses to allow an Indyref2. The Scottish First Minister accused Mr Ross of “smears and mistruths” as the pair clashed during the country’s final leadership debate before the ballot.
Ms Sturgeon has in recent weeks appeared to move away from previous combative rhetoric about a second independence referendum.
Last week, she failed to include any mention of an early independence drive in a document outlining the direction she would take Scotland in the first 100 days of the new Holyrood term should the SNP win re-election.
Serious questions have been asked of Ms Sturgeon and the viability of an independent Scotland.
Perhaps most salient is Ms Sturgeon’s assertion that Scotland would successfully rejoin the EU post-independence.
Scots overwhelmingly voted to remain a part of the bloc in 2016.
Ms Sturgeon says this is a one of a number of reasons why Scotland is incompatible with the UK.
Yet, many have criticised the SNP’s strategy of reentering the EU.
Dean Lockhart, the Scottish Tory constitution spokesman, recently said the SNP was confused over Scotland’s EU membership.
His comments came after Ms Sturgeon was contradicted by Mike Russell, the Scottish Constitution Secretary, who said the country’s entering the bloc would depend on the circumstances at the time.
Mr Lockhart told The Daily Telegraph: “Nicola Sturgeon and Mike Russell are united in their determination to inflict another damaging independence referendum on the people of Scotland – but when it comes to what would happen in the event of breaking up the UK, they can’t get their stories straight.
Robert Tombs, the renowned British historian, told Express.co.uk that Brussels would not readily accept a newly independent Scotland as it would be “too much trouble”.
He said: “It would cost the EU money, the Scots would expect to be subsidised by the EU, and the bloc is getting more and more reluctant to do that.
“Countries like Spain would oppose the idea too, because it would be an encouragement to the Catalans again.
“I would also guess that the EU would hesitate to do something which would seem really to be a seriously unfriendly act towards a major state like Britain, to actually encourage the breakup of another state.
“Countries in other parts of the world go to war over things like that; we wouldn’t, of course, but you would be risking a real crisis of relations if the EU was seen to be trying to encourage the breakup of the UK.”
Ms Sturgeon recently failed to explain how Scotland would be “the only part of the EU” not to have a hard border with England.
The UK accounts for more than 60 percent of Scottish trade, more than three times than that with the EU.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Scottish First Minister said she wanted to keep trade flowing across the border with England.
She argued Scotland would negotiate arrangements to “keep trade flowing freely”.
Meanwhile, the SNP is tipped to secure a seven set majority in Thursday’s elections.
The polling, carried out by YouGov for The Times, raises the prospect of a second independence referendum during the next parliamentary term.
Ms Sturgeon’s SNP had momentarily slipped in the constituency ballot but appears to be back on track.