Boris warned COP26 is ‘opportune moment’ for Sturgeon to promote Scottish independence

Nicola Sturgeon promises second referendum by end of 2023

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World leaders invested in tackling the climate crisis will descend on Glasgow in the first weeks of November for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). This year’s summit is being hosted by the UK but experts predict Scotland will attempt to steal the limelight in a bid to gain international support for Scottish independence. Scotland’s green credentials promise to be a key battleground in the fight for independence, with Nicola Sturgeon’s Government pledging to invest heavily into the renewable energy sector.

And COP26 is the perfect opportunity for Ms Sturgeon to highlight the work already done towards reducing greenhouse emissions and hitting net-zero targets.

Anthony Salamone, the managing director of European Merchants, has now said the Scottish Government will attempt to promote its pro-European and pro-independence agenda at the summit.

This position, he argued, will be in stark contrast to the “confident and united” image projected to the world by the Government in Westminster.

Writing in an opinion piece for Politico, he said: “Increased tensions over independence have only raised the political stakes.

“The UK Government wants to dampen Scottish public support for independence.

“It sees Scotland as acting as an autonomous agent at COP26, or elsewhere, as contradictory to that goal.

“Indeed, the UK chose Glasgow intentionally – not to closely cooperate with the Scottish Government but rather to offer an example of the UK’s prestige and strength.”

Coming out of the Scottish parliamentary elections in May, Ms Sturgeon has been emboldened in her drive towards a second independence referendum.

Pollster says Sturgeon would be favourite to win Scottish referendum

Speaking at the closing of the virtual Scottish Nationalist Party conference on Monday, the First Minister said the election and Brexit have given her the mandate to leave the Union.

She said: “In May, people in Scotland elected a new Scottish Parliament.

“That new Parliament has a clear and substantial majority in favour of an independence referendum.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, decisions fall to be made that will shape Scotland for decades to come.”

Scotland’s commitment to breaking away from the UK can also be seen in the country’s pledge to fight climate change.

While the UK has vowed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the Scottish Government thinks it can do so by 2045.

The independence mandate was also strengthened by the SNP partnering with the Scottish Green Party earlier this summer.

Mark Ruskell, a Greens MSP, has told COP26 is “an opportunity to showcase” the country on the international arena.

Mr Salamone now said: “To be sure, the global figures gathering in Glasgow are coming for climate change, not Scottish politics — so this shadow debate is more likely to influence the Scottish public than conference attendees.

“But it should not be overlooked. Whatever the outcome of COP26 for the fight against climate change, the conference is now firmly part of the independence debate.”

The COP26 summit will be held between November 1 and November 12 in Glasgow.

Pollsters have recently found public opinion in Scotland is split on the question of independence as was the case in 2014. Read more about the latest polls here. 

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