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The spirit of cooperation between the Scottish and British governments established during the pandemic should result in an agreement on a second independence referendum, said Nicola Sturgeon.

In comments published ahead of her speech at the Scottish National Party’s online conference on Monday, the Prime Minister is expected to say that ‘democracy must – and will prevail -‘ regarding the results of the May parliamentary election in Scotland, which returned a majority independence.

The British government has until recently always refused to allow Holyrood to hold a second legal referendum. But in recent months, and since the May election, that stance has softened, with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack saying last month that Westminster could grant one if support remained at 60% for an extended period.

“So it is in this spirit of cooperation that I hope the Scottish and UK governments can come to an agreement, as we did in 2014, to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected.” , Sturgeon told delegates.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly pledged to hold another ballot by the end of 2023, but only if the public health crisis is over.

Delegates to the Scottish National Party’s online conference on Sunday backed a motion calling for a referendum bill to be introduced “at the earliest,” but the party leader told Sky News that morning that ‘another poll would not take place until pressure was put on the NHS eased and all coronavirus brakes were lifted.

Sturgeon said that for a referendum campaign to be properly targeted by the public, it was crucial that there was “a general environment in the country where people are not asked to limit or restrict their behavior in their daily lives. “.

“It’s not just about the security of the polling stations,” she said. “It’s about making sure that as a country facing a big and important decision about its future, it is able to properly focus on this and does not have to fear a Covid crisis. “

Later Sunday, SNP members backed a 535-to-10 motion that said the decision “should be determined by data-driven criteria regarding the clear end of the public health crisis, which would allow a referendum campaign. complete, normal and energetic ”.

In his chief speech at the Alba conference, which took place the same weekend as the SNP rally, Alex Salmond again criticized Sturgeon’s approach to a second referendum, telling delegates: “If you constantly make people go up to the top of the hill and then come back down, then you end up singing Rule Britannia.

Mocking Sturgeon announced in his government platform last week that officials are resuming work on the independence dossier, the former prime minister and former SNP leader said, “Wow. Bring me. It is perfectly reasonable for the SNP to organize a virtual conference – but not a virtual referendum campaign. “

Salmond said a strategy was needed to overcome the Westminster government’s repeated refusal to grant Holyrood the powers necessary to hold a legal referendum. “After 2011, we faced David Cameron and George Osborne,” he said. “Are we really saying Scotland can’t take on Boris Johnson and the disco king himself, Michael Gove?” “

theguardian Gt