THE SNP have applied to get indyref2 on the ballot paper at the upcoming Scottish Parliament election.

According to The Herald, the party has requested permission to use the phrase in two instances – “Vote SNP for indyref2” and “Both votes SNP for indyref2”.

The slogans would appear alongside the party’s name on voting slips.

Alongside the indyref2 slogans, the SNP asked the Electoral Commission for permission to register “Nicola Sturgeon for SNP First Minister” as another party description.

READ MORE: Michael Russell rejects Tory pleas as indyref2 bill to be set out in days

At last year’s SNP conference, Sturgeon pledged to have a referendum on independence in the early part of the next parliament if the party secures a majority in May.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly rejected the idea of granting a Section 30 order, which would allow a new vote on Scotland’s place in the UK to be held. The SNP this year revealed an 11-point plan of what to do in that instance.

If the word indyref2 appears on the ballot paper, the mandate, should the party secure a majority as consistent polls have indicated, would be hard to argue with.

The National:

Unionist parties are not happy with the move, complaining that the slogans do not refer to Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery.

Recently the Tories and LibDems asked the Electoral Commission for permission to register anti-referendum slogans, with a focus on the country’s recovery. The Tories requested “End Division, No Referendum, Rebuild Scotland” and “Not Another Referendum, Time for Recovery”. Meanwhile the UK LibDems went for “Scottish Liberal Democrats – Put Recovery First”.

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LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael said the indyref2 slogans would show voters in “black and white” that the SNP want to prioritise another independence vote “ahead of health and education and jobs”.

Independence support reached record highs of 58% last year, but appears to have dipped in recent weeks. Pollsters have suggested the apparent decrease could be linked to the recent troubles between Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, the UK Government’s so-called “vaccine bounce” and a tiring of lockdown restrictions.

The Electoral Commission may take several weeks to decide on whether the slogans can be used.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is preparing to publish a bill in the coming days setting out the timing and potential question for a new referendum.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell rejected Tory claims that the bill is a “momentous distraction” – saying Scots can decide in May whether they want a chance to vote on the nation’s future.

The National:

Russell told The National: “In reality all depends on what the people of Scotland choose – not what those with no Scottish mandate think or try to do.

“I am content to hear what my fellow citizens want and act accordingly and I would commend that to all those who are trying to put their own narrow interests ahead of those of our country, which so clearly needs a new way forward after the pandemic.”