NICOLA Sturgeon will say “democracy will prevail” as she addresses the SNP conference where she is expected to launch an attack on Boris Johnson’s government and its opposition to a new referendum.

In her closing speech to the four-day event today, she will underline the outcome of the May election which resulted in her party winning a record fourth term in government after standing on a promise to deliver a second independence referendum by 2026 so long as the Covid pandemic had passed.

“My approach to government and to politics will be, as far as possible, co-operation not confrontation.

“The experience of the pandemic and the challenges we face as a result reinforces my view that this is the right approach,” she is expected to say.

“So it is in that spirit of co-operation that I hope the Scottish and UK governments can reach agreement – as we did in 2014 – to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected.

“But, this much is clear. Democracy must – and will – prevail.”

RECAP: All the news and updates from Sunday at SNP conference

But the Prime Minister – who reports over the weekend have said wants to stay in power for a further 10 years – has refused to grant Holyrood the power to hold an agreed referendum, saying the focus should be on the economic recovery. Should he continue to do so Holyrood will pass a bill to hold a new vote.

Addressing the SNP conference, being held online because of the pandemic, the First Minister is expected to stress the UK is a voluntary union and argue Johnson’s government has no right to veto Scotland’s right to choose whether it remains in it.

“The United Kingdom is after all a voluntary union of nations,” she is due to state.

“Until recently no-one seriously challenged the right of the people in Scotland to choose whether or not they wished to become independent.

“Frankly it is not up to a Westminster government which has just six MPs in Scotland to decide our future without the consent of the people who live here.

“As an independent country, co-operation between Scotland and our friends across the rest of the UK will continue, but it will be on a better basis: Scotland will be an equal partner.”

Meanwhile, in a television interview yesterday the First Minister said she is “confident” people in Scotland will support independence when the second referendum is held.

READ MORE: Six in 10 Scots want indyref2 by 2026, according to Tory MPs' think-tank

She was speaking to Sky News days after she announced to Holyrood a new vote would take place by the end of 2023 so long as the Covid pandemic had passed.

Asked about the timing of a vote she said, pointing to decisions made by prime ministers before the Fixed-term Parliaments Act on when to call a General Election, that “any politician” factors in considerations about the best chance of winning before deciding when to hold one.

Pressed on a referendum’s timing, she said it was a matter of judgment and “it was very important she got that judgment right”.

Sturgeon said: “Some polls right now do suggest that Yes would win, others that Yes is slightly behind but I am very confident that when this question is next put people in Scotland will vote Yes.

“One of reasons for that is I’ve seen that all of those things that were said to Scotland by the No campaign in the referendum in 2014, not least that being independent would see us lose our European Union membership have turned out to be false. So I am confident about that.”

Sturgeon added: “I think it is right that the country gets to choose its future. There are big decisions to be made by governments everywhere as we emerge from the pandemic. Who do we want taking these decisions, democratically elected governments here in Scotland guided by the values of the Scottish people or governments like Boris Johnson’s in Westminster that we don’t vote for? So that is the choice and we should get to make that choice when the time is right for the country to do so.”

READ MORE: Covid recovery to be at heart of independence campaign, SNP members agree

She was asked why a referendum could not take place during the crisis when the Scottish Parliament election had done and what level of infections would she judge to assess the pandemic had passed.

“This is not just about the safety of polling stations, it’s about making sure that as the country faces a big important decision about its future it’s able to focus on that properly and that it doesn’t have looming over that a Covid crisis,” she said.

“I’m not going to set a precise level of infections. We would want to see the Covid situation under control, the pressure on our National Health Service significantly lower than it is right now, a sense that we weren’t in the acute phase of this crisis, but also crucially an overall environment in the country where people are not in their day to day lives being asked to ... still limit or restrict their day to day behaviour.”