Scottish Independence Referendum Betting Hints At IndyRef2 Date

Scottish Independence Referendum Betting Hints At IndyRef2 Date
© PA

The chances of another Scottish independence referendum taking place within the next four years have plummeted to record low levels as the SNP struggle to gain national support for IndyRef2.

Following on from May’s successful Holyrood elections the SNP’s leader Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she is hoping to trigger a second referendum on Scottish independence.

The first failed 55%-45% in 2014 but nationalists argue that the UK’s pro-Brexit vote two years later is enough to bring Scottish independence back on the agenda.

Ms Sturgeon has insisted that no fresh referendum on Scotland’s membership with the union would take place until after the coronavirus crisis has subsided.

But, if the latest polls and politics betting odds are to be believed, voters could be waiting a long time to cast their ballots.

2025 and Beyond

According to the most recent UK politics betting markets, there is a 66.6% chance that Scotland doesn’t hold a new referendum until at least 2025. The odds of 1/2 on that date have steadily falling for months.

Meanwhile, a proposal for IndyRef2 to take place in 2022 – which was suggested by Sturgeon at the start of this year – is looking increasingly unlikely.

Odds on the referendum being held next year are now at 6/1, while 2023 is priced at 4/1.

It is highly unlikely Scotland would hold a referendum on independence from the UK in 2024 as this is the planned date for the next general election. It means the SNP will have to fare strongly at another Westminster vote before then angling to put independence on the table.

Can IndyRef2 Even Take Place?

There is also an issue that has arisen in Holyrood over the legality of a second independence referendum.

Opponents to independence claim that because the Act that set up the Scottish Parliament left constitutional issues with Westminster, MSPs don’t hold any power to legislate for a fresh referendum.

However, Holyrood’s new Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone has refused to commit one way or the other on this issue.

“I will react to any Bill as and when it arises,” she said.

As for the SNP, Sturgeon’s immediate concern may be the lack of appetite for independence, despite her majority in Holyrood. May’s ComRes opinion poll taken after the Scottish Parliament elections show a 49%-43% result in favour of remaining in the UK.

There’s no doubting that Westminster’s furlough scheme has been a major shot in the arm for unionists, not to mention the successful nationwide vaccine roll-out.

And while that 6% No lead is by no means unsurmountable, the SNP may be inclined to use the lingering months of the Covid-19 pandemic to publicise and deliver their proposals for Scotland over the next few years, rather than be bogged down in an independence debate that may not be settled until 2025.

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