Scottish secretary David Mundell: There are no plans for a second Scottish independence referendum

James Nickerson
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Mundell said the Scottish referendum was seen by everyone as "once in a lifetime" (Source: Getty)

Following Alex Salmond's remarks yesterday, it looks like in-fighting between Westminster and Holyrood about the prospects of another Scottish independence referendum isn't going to go away, after Scottish secretary David Mundell waded in saying there are no plans in place for such a vote to take place.

Read more: SNP could be eyeing a second Scottish independence referendum as early as 2016

In a response to two parliamentary questions lodged by the SNP's Margaret Ferrier, Mundell said that given the "clear and repeated commitments" of leading Yes campaigners during the independence referendum campaign that the vote was a “once in a generation” or “once in a lifetime” event, and "given that a clear majority of Scots voted No in that referendum", his department had "not prepared contingency plans for the possibility of a further referendum being the policy of the Scottish government after the Scottish parliament election in 2016".

After the SNP won a watershed victory in May's General Election, taking 56 of the 59 Scottish Westminster, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon had stressed there was “no second Scottish independence referendum on the immediate horizon”.

But despite Sturgeon’s statement and Scots rejecting independence last year by a majority of 55 per cent to 45 per cent, opinion polls are pointing to an SNP landslide in next year's Scottish parliamentary elections, which has sparked speculation that a move could be on the cards.

Salmond added to this by making separate comments on BBCs the Andrew Marr Show, suggesting a referendum is not a matter of if, but when.

Read more: Alex Salmond says second Scottish independence referendum "inevitable"

This comes after the government committed to devolving new powers to Scotland through the Scotland Bill. An SNP spokesperson, however, said a second referendum would not be determined by politicians but decided by the people of Scotland "at every stage of the process".

The first minister has made clear we are not planning another referendum, but equally has made it clear that it is not in the gift of any politician and party to rule it out indefinitely.

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