The SNP says the party’s success in the council election shows a “real appetite” for independence, despite a new poll finding most Scots do not want IndyRef2 in 2023.
Across Scotland the SNP have been celebrating after winning 453 council seats across the country – 22 more than the previous council election in 2017.
Labour came second with 282 seats, while the Conservatives lost 63 seats, giving them a total of just 214 seats.
Kirsten Oswald MP, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, now says this demonstrates support for holding a second independence referendum next year.
However two separate polls have found the majority of Scots do not want to see a referendum by the end of 2023.
‘It is up to the people of Scotland’
Speaking on The Sunday Show, Ms Oswald said: “This is a clear signal people have a real appetite to look to the future and the better future independence will bring.
“I am looking forward to having more conversations about that.
“It is not for the Conservatives to say we can’t have a referendum.
“The first minister has been very clear on our position – we have a mandate for it and I look forward to things cranking up.
“It is not possible for the Conservatives to say it won’t happen because it is not up to them.
“It is up to the people of Scotland.”
Polls show lack of support for IndyRef2
Ms Oswald’s comments come as a Survation poll for the anti-independence group Scotland In Union found just 29% of people want a second independence referendum by the end of 2023, with 60% opposed to the idea.
In a separate poll by Panelbase for The Sunday Times, just 24% want another vote in the next 12 months while 31% agreed it should happen within the next five years.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland In Union, said: “Whatever SNP politicians claim about the council election results, it is clear that the people of Scotland do not support their timetable for a divisive second referendum next year.
“Voters want the government to prioritise what really matters to them, not the SNP’s obsession with constitutional division.
“And once again, this poll has confirmed that a significant majority of people in Scotland want to remain part of the UK.
“Scotland’s best days are ahead of us as part of the UK, ensuring we can bring communities together and use the strength of our shared economy to invest more in the NHS, schools and local services.”
‘Disappointing’ result for the Tories
One of the biggest recruiting tools for support for independence is the prime minister.
The Conservatives had a “disappointing” council election, which many have blamed on Boris Johnson’s partygate fines.
Despite this Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is remaining defiant in his support for the prime minister, despite acknowledging he is to blame for the party’s poor performance in the election.
Mr Ross said: “It is very disappointing.
“We lost some excellent colleagues who were not re-elected and didn’t get the chance to serve their areas.
“This was a problem right across the UK and we were not immune from the criticisms of the prime minister and partygate.
“The public decided to send a protest vote against the prime minister in this election by staying at home rather than switching to another party.
“But what has not changed is the situation in Ukraine.
“[May 9] is the annual Victory Day parade in Russia and Putin will seek to use that as a further opportunity to destabilise and kill more people in Ukraine.
“We don’t want to do anything that helps Putin.
“Opinion polls say people are unhappy with the prime minister and partygate but I don’t think now, in this crucial moment, we should be changing our UK leader.
“The results were disappointing and largely because of partygate, but that doesn’t mean it is time to change our prime minister.”