First minister implies call for help should be refused after Cameron sought intervention

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotlands first minister, has implied the Queen should refuse to be drawn into a future vote on Scottish independence after David Cameron admitted he asked the monarch to intervene in 2014.

Cameron confirmed in a BBC interview he had asked the royal household whether the Queen could raise an eyebrow about independence after an opinion poll put support for leaving the UK at 52% a few days before the referendum in September 2014.

The monarch is supposed to be impartial but on the Sunday before the vote she told a well-wisher outside Crathie church near Balmoral: Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.

Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the pro-independence Scottish Green party, asked Sturgeon on Thursday whether the UK government could be trusted not to again seek the Queens help if a second independence referendum takes place.

Another referendum is coming, we all know that, Harvie said during first ministers questions. Does the first minister think that we can trust that the head of state wont once again be invited to interfere in the vote of a sovereign people?

Sturgeon replied: Well, that should always be a matter for the Scottish people. We know that support for independence is rising, demand for another independence referendum is rising.

She added: Scotland does have a right to choose its own future and I think the revelations, if I can call them that from David Cameron today, say more about him than anybody else, and really demonstrate the panic that was at the heart of the UK government in the run-up to the independence referendum five years ago.

Of course that is nothing compared to the panic that is in the heart of unionist parties now about independence. Anti-independence parties have refused to sanction a second vote, while some unionist politicians have floated a leave or remain option in a referendum.

Sturgeon concluded: They know they do not have the arguments against independence and they know that when Scotland is given the right to choose, Scotland this time will choose to become independent.

Cameron told the BBC that a YouGov poll putting the yes vote at 52% hit him like a blow to the solar plexus and led to a mounting sense of panic. He remembered a conversation with Sir Jeremy Heywood, the then cabinet secretary, who in turn spoke to Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queens private secretary at the time. Cameron said he was not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow, even you know a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference.



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