Nicola Sturgeon vowed to “never give up” on breaking up the UK as she pledged to continue serving as Scottish First minister “for quite some time yet”. The SNP leader told party members in Aberdeen she would do “everything in my power to build the better Scotland we all want to see”.
She added: “Scotland has got what it takes to be a successful independent country, it has it in abundance. Never let anyone tell us otherwise.”
For months rumours have swirled around Holyrood that Ms Sturgeon is preparing to step down as leader of her party at the next election if she is unable to hold a new referendum next year.
The Supreme Court set to this week hear the Scottish Government’s argument as to why it can hold a new independence vote without Westminster’s consent.
But addressing the SNP’s annual party conference today, Ms Sturgeon said she had no intention of stepping down from the top role.
READ MORE: Latest independence polls as Sturgeon makes SNP conference speech
Asserting her authority, the veteran nationalist politician also appeared to take a swipe at her SNP colleagues who have expressed impatience at the party leadership’s failure to be more aggressive in the push for independence.
Yesterday SNP President Michael Russell threatened the UK Supreme Court would “fail the people of Scotland” if it did not rule Holyrood can hold its own independence referendum.
But this afternoon Ms Sturgeon said it was imperative Scots “respect that judgment”, adding: “We believe in the rule of law.”
She continued: “As a party – and a movement – we will, of course, reflect.
“But fundamentally, it will leave us with a very simple choice, put our case for independence to the people in an election or give up on Scottish democracy.
“Conference, I don’t know about you – actually I suspect I do – but I will never, ever, give up on Scottish democracy.”
Ms Sturgeon used her speech to also trail the Scottish Government’s latest paper on what the country would look like outside the UK.
It has already published “Independence in the modern world. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland?” and “Renewing Democracy through Independence”.
The third report in its “Building a New Scotland” document series will be released next week and will focus on economic issues.
The First Minister said it would outline plans for £20billion of investment in the first decade of Scottish independence.