NICOLA Sturgeon has written to Boris Johnson, setting out her plans to hold indyref2 on October 19, 2023.

In her letter, made public after she explained her government’s “route-map” to an independence referendum in Holyrood, the First Minister says Johnson’s repeated rejection of indyref2 “call into question the whole idea of the UK as a voluntary partnership”.

Sturgeon says it is a “deep regret” that she has had to ask the Lord Advocate to find out whether Holyrood legislation on the holding of a referendum is within the Parliament’s powers – as she would have preferred “constructive engagement” between the governments as happened in 2014.

READ MORE: RECAP: Nicola Sturgeon reveals route to Scottish independence referendum

During her statement on Tuesday, Sturgeon made clear that she would use the next General Election as a de-facto independence referendum if the court finds holding indyref2 to be outwith Holyrood’s powers.

Below, you can read the full text of her letter to Johnson.


In May last year the Scottish Government was re-elected on a clear promise to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence. The election also returned a Scottish Parliament with a decisive majority in favour of independence and with a mandate for an independence referendum.

In line with that mandate, we committed last year to work to ensure that a legitimate and constitutional referendum could be held, if the Covid crisis is over, within the first half of this term of the Scottish Parliament.

Your government has made abundantly clear your reluctance to respect that mandate or to respond positively to my previous request for constructive engagement to agree the terms of an Order in Council under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to put the legal basis of a referendum beyond any doubt.

Against that background, the Lord Advocate has, following a request from me, decided to refer to the Supreme Court the question of whether Scottish Parliament legislation for such a referendum relates to reserved matters. The reference is being served on the Advocate General today.

It is a matter of deep regret to me that this action is necessary. In a voluntary union of nations where the people of one nation have voted in elections to give a mandate for a referendum it is, in my view, unacceptable democratically that the route to a referendum to be via the courts rather than co-operation between the UK and Scottish governments.

Indeed your actions to date call into question the whole idea of the UK as a voluntary partnership.

You and I will never agree on the merits of independence for Scotland. But I would expect any democrat to agree that it is unacceptable for the people of Scotland to be blocked from making that choice given the clear majority for a referendum in the Scottish Parliament.

Although the court action is in progress, I continue to stand ready to negotiate the terms of a Section 30 order with you, as we did with the UK Government in 2012, to respect the mandate given by the people of Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon