Scotland’s first minister has said she won’t call a new independence referendum until the COVID health crisis is “under control”.
Speaking to Sky News’ Trevor Phillips, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am not going to set precise level of infection but you would want to see the COVID situation under control – the pressure on our national health service significantly lower that is right now, a sense that we weren’t in the acute phase of this crisis.”
“This is not just about safety of polling stations,” she added.
“It is about making sure that as a country faces a big, important decision about its future, it’s able to focus on that properly and it doesn’t have looming over that a COVID crisis.
“So right now, the recent spike in cases in Scotland is putting enormous pressure on our national health services, leading me as the first minister to advise people to continue to take great care with their interactions.
“I don’t think that kind of situation would be a good backdrop for the country considering and making a big decision on its future.”
She said the final decision was a “matter of judgement, and it’s important I get that judgement right”.
When asked if she was waiting for a moment when it was more politically advantageous to call IndyRef2, she replied: “Any politician is going to factor those kind of judgements into that decision, and I am not going to sit here and pretend otherwise.”
But, she added, “my primary consideration is to do what’s right for the country, when is it right – I think it’s right the country gets to choose its future.”
Despite a recent spike in COVID cases, Ms Sturgeon said there is not currently a plan to reimpose lockdown in Scotland over the winter.
However, she said: “I think any responsible leader has to keep options open and not rule anything out.”
She said the surge cases in Scotland appears to be “levelling off” as we move into autumn.
Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that the Scottish Parliament has approved legislation for a “very limited” vaccine certification programme.
She said it is believed this will “reduce transmission in some higher-risk settings”.
“Of course any measure we take has upsides and downsides,” Ms Sturgeon added.
“Nothing is straightforward here and this is a very limited scheme and it has a part to play.”
With the COP26 climate conference due to take place in Glasgow at the end of October, she said there are “big, big challenges” ahead for world leaders.
She told Sky News: “What we don’t want to do is repeat the mistakes of the de-industrialisation that was underway and we had the legacy of when I was growing up, when we had individuals and communities thrown onto the scrap heap.
“It’s about the pace and the justice of that transition. We are already in that transition and we’ve got to make sure it happens at a pace that is consistent with our net-zero ambitions.”
She added: “This is possibly the last chance the world has to do what is required to meet the Paris Agreement of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees and we have got to get a Glasgow agreement that allows this generation of leaders to look the next generation in the eye.”
Support Howtoearntips with a contribution of any size
Your support helps protect the Howtoearntips independence and it means we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open for everyone around the world. Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future.