POLLING guru Professor John Curtice has set out his predictions on how the independence debate will unfold this year.
The Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, Prof Curtice said he believes Nicola Sturgeon will show her “first moves” towards another vote in the upcoming year.
He made the comments on an appearance of RT, presented by George Galloway.
The former MP from Dundee asked the polling expert to set out his big predictions for 2022, to which he responded with two key themes – Covid and the aftermath of leaving the EU.
He said: “There are two storms surrounding British politics – the pandemic and the fallout of Brexit.
“As a result of Brexit, north of the border, this will be the year when the question of Scotland’s future relationship with the UK is going to return to the political agenda.
“North of the border, we have a government which is determined under Nicola Sturgeon with the support of the Greens to hold a referendum at some point.
“And she said she wants to do it by the end of next year.
“We have to remember it is a government that was elected virtually entirely by people who are in favour of independence and therefore almost entirely by people who are in favour of having a referendum.
“I think it’s probably going to be the case, assuming the pandemic has died down at all, that we will begin to see the first moves by Nicola Sturgeon.”
The academic said that what may follow could be a “substantial constitutional row” that might end up in court.
He said: “[Nicola Sturgeon] has got civil servants working on developing the case for independence, I would anticipate we might begin to see some of that see the light of day in the next 12 months.
“We may begin to see the beginning of what could be quite a substantial constitutional row between the UK Government and Scottish Government.
“A row that might eventually end up before the UK Supreme Court.”
The First Minister has previously reiterated the Scottish Government’s plans to hold another referendum before the end of 2023.
She said in September that officials were to resume work on a “detailed prospectus” of independence but added that she wanted a vote to be held “only when the Covid crisis has passed”.
Within days, Boris Johnson’s team had dismissed the calls, saying “now is simply not the time” to consider a second referendum.
The spokesman said: “We’ve said this many times before, Ministers and officials across the UK Government departments are focusing on tackling COVID 19 pandemic and supporting the economic recovery.
“Scottish people have been clear they want to see the UK Government and devolved governments working together to defeat pandemic, that’s our priority.”