The Scottish Government plans to hold a second independence referendum in October 2023, according to Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson.
Robertson told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme the Scottish Government intends holding the referendum in October of next year.
Robertson went further on the timing than First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has said only that she wants the ballot to be held before the end of 2023.
Ahead of such a vote, Sturgeon on Tuesday launched the first paper in a series of documents from the Scottish Government designed at updating the case for independence.
While Sturgeon did not say how she planned for a referendum to be held if the UK government does not agree to such a vote via a section 30 order, the First Minister promised a “significant” announcement on the referendum soon.
Robertson said: “The First Minister made clear yesterday she intends to make an announcement to the Scottish Parliament in the forthcoming weeks about the route map to the referendum which we intend to hold next October …
“I see no reason for the UK Government to deny a section 30 order.
“This is the procedure that was agreed in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, the gold standard of holding a recognised, agreed, constitutional referendum.”
Robertson refused to comment on what could happen if the UK refused to grant an order, saying only: “I’m not going to get into speculation of what happens a number of steps down the road, we still have the opportunity to secure a section 30 order.
“Scottish politics has a long history of UK governments going ‘no, no, no, yes’. That is what happened in the run-up to the referendum in 2014 and I still think we should work on the basis of the gold standard of democracy.”
Robertson stated: “I am fully content with the prospectus beginning to be rolled out, with the announcements that will follow on the route map, about how that is going to be achieved, that we have a perfectly adequate window of opportunity both for legislation to be passed, for the opportunity for the people to scrutinise the prospectus the Scottish Government will publish and also hold opponents to account.”