On Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that provisions in two bills passed by MSPs earlier this year were beyond Holyrood’s powers. Leading Scottish political and legal figures said the ruling would stop any attempt to table legislation for a second vote on separation without Westminster’s permission.
But the SNP Westminster leader said the proposed legislation would still proceed at Holyrood.
Addressing a Yes2indee march and rally held in Glasgow, Mr Blackford said: “Our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been very clear that the responsibility that the Government has, that she has, is to lead Scotland through that pandemic.
“But I can assure you that the bill for a referendum will be coming in front of the Scottish Parliament, and the First Minister has indicated that if we have dealt with that pandemic, we will be having that referendum in 2023.”
He made clear: “The job for all of us is to win the hearts and the minds of the people of Scotland.
“The job for all of us is to go door to door, street to street, village to village, town to town, city to city and to make sure that the people of Scotland are ready to cast their votes for Scotland becoming an independent country.
“Let’s make sure we go out and have that debate.
“I know each and every person here wants Scotland to be an independent country, but our task, our job, is to make sure we take our country with us – a united country that recognises Scotland’s destiny is as an independent country.”
Ms Sturgeon has said she wants a second vote to take place before the end of 2023, subject to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson would still have to grant permission for a legal vote and has so far signalled a no to granting a section 30 order required for a referendum.
A Scottish Tory spokesperson, said: “Nicola Sturgeon made chilling remarks this week about having time on her side on independence which she has failed to apologise for.
“Now Ian Blackford is playing to the gallery despite knowing that Scots have no appetite for the SNP’s plans for another divisive independence referendum in the next two years.
“That is the last thing Scotland needs.
“All of our focus must be on our Covid recovery.”
Baroness Ruth Davidson, former Scottish Tory leader claimed the Scottish First Minister was in “supreme denial” over the prospect of a second independence vote.
She said: “Nicola Sturgeon says she’ll introduce a referendum Bill to parliament for another independence vote to take place.
“But constitutional matters like this are also outside the competence of Holyrood.
“The Supreme Court would likely strike that Bill down too, ruling it unlawful.”
The Tory peer concluded by claiming Ms Sturgeon was “playing the long game” on a second vote than “have a court rule she can’t have the referendum she claims to crave”.