First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she was being more than half-serious as she suggested that the English should move to Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon made the comment in an interview as she prepared for talks over Brexit no-deal planning.

In the interview, she called out of a "lack of leadership" from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over leaving the EU which meant that if the UK does crash out with no deal "he will bear almost as much responsibility as Theresa May and Boris Johnson".

Her views came before she celebrated a "phenomenal" new poll which showed that most Scots are in favour of independence.

The study by Lord Ashcroft Polls, published in the Holyrood Magazine, was conducted days after new Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Scotland and shows the majority want a second referendum by 2021.

READ MORE: Majority now want Scottish independence, says 'phenomenal' new poll

It put support for independence at 46 per cent for and 43 per cent against in a country which rejected Brexit and was at odds with the overall UK vote to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Ms Sturgeon wants a referendum on independence by 2021 and hopes it can be achieved in the second half of next year.


In the interview with the Guardian, she was asked what her advice would be to someone who lives in England.

With what was described as a quiet laugh she said: "Move to England."

Asked if she was at least half-serious she added: “More than half-serious. We need more people in Scotland. Absolutely: move to Scotland.”

Asked what if someone can’t, or won’t, she added: “It’s very difficult. And I don’t have an obvious answer to that. I think the abdication of leadership on the part of Jeremy Corbyn right now will be as much of the stuff of the history books as what’s happening in the Tory party.

"And I think it’s tragic. If you’re in Wales, vote for Plaid Cymru, obviously."

She added: “Throughout my political career, I’ve had – and I don’t mean this pejoratively – people...almost portraying Scottish independence as some kind of betrayal of the left. I can sort of understand it. 

"But the answer to that can’t be that Scotland just languishes with the rest of the UK and gets taken down the wrong path. I think the best thing Scotland can do for people who want a different path for England is to lead by example. We can show it can be done.”


She said that after the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson turned down an invitation from her to join her in a live TV debate to discuss the case for Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon said that after her first meeting with Mr Johnson he had not been “at his most comfortable” when talking about the case for a second independence vote. 

READ MORE: Channel 4 offer to host TV debate between Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson

Asked what she meant by that, she said: “He didn’t have much of an answer. He can defend the union and oppose independence: that’s entirely legitimate. 

"He kept trying to get back to the substance of the argument about independence. And the point I made back to him was: ‘Let’s have the debate on the substance, but let’s have it out there and let the public decide.’ 

"I suggested we might do a live TV debate on it, at which point he decided it was time to go.  Or his advisers decided it was time to go.”

Channel 4 had offered to host it.