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Boris Johnson formally rejects Scottish independence referendum – ‘his last act as PM?’

06 Jul 2022 4 minute read
Westminster Government Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Annika Haas (CC BY 2.0). Nicola Sturgeon picture by Arctic Circle (CC BY 2.0).

Boris Johnson has formally rejected a call from the Scottish First Minister for Holyrood to be given the power to hold a second independence vote.

In what Nicola Sturgeon suggested might be “his last act as PM”, the under-fire Prime Minister said he had “carefully considered” her request – but he insisted that he could “not agree that now is the time to return to a question which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014”.

The letter means that it will likely be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether a advisory referendum is within the Scottish Government’s competence – which could set a precedent for a referendum in Wales, too.

The letter, which the Scottish First Minister revealed on Twitter, came in the wake of a series of resignations from government at Westminster, with many Tories now urging the PM to quit.

Nicola Sturgeon insisted: “To be clear, Scotland will have the opportunity to choose independence – I hope in a referendum on 19 October 2023 but if not, through a general election.”

But Mr Johnson told her: “I have carefully considered the arguments you set out for a transfer of power from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament to hold another referendum on independence.

“As our country faces unprecedented challenges at home and abroad, I cannot agree that now is the time to return to a question, which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014.”

Mr Johnson continued: “Our shared priorities must be to respond effectively to the global cost-of-living challenge, to support our NHS and public services as they recover from the huge disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to play our leading part in the international response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

“These are common challenges across the United Kingdom, which deserve our full attention.”

‘Slap’

The letter comes just over a week after the SNP leader formally unveiled plans to hold a second vote on Scottish independence on October 19 2023.

As well as asking for the power to hold such a vote to be transferred to Holyrood, UK Supreme Court judges have also been asked if the Scottish Government can hold a consultative ballot on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon has also made plain that if both Westminster and the courts rebuff her attempts to hold another referendum the SNP will use the next UK general election as a ‘de facto referendum’ on Scottish independence.

Labour meanwhile argued that Scots were being let down by governments on both sides of the border, with constitution spokesperson Sarah Boyack stating: “The people of Scotland are being failed by an SNP government at Holyrood that is obsessed with separation and an imploding and corrupt Tory government at Westminster.

“Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon are two sides of the same coin.

“Neither the Tories nor the SNP are focused on tackling the cost of living crisis or rebuilding our services from the pandemic, and both are damaging the future of devolution.”

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay said the letter came as “yet another slap in the face to the people of Scotland, who have repeatedly sent pro-independence majorities to Holyrood and Westminster”.

“The people will not continue to be held hostage by the most unpopular Prime Minister in history,” she said.

“We will ensure that Scotland’s future is placed firmly in the hands of the people who live here.”


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The Original Mark
The Original Mark
4 months ago

So it begins?

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago

So there goes the argument put forward by unionists, that this is a voluntary union, of 4 equal partners, not that the 3 Celtic nations believe that lead of cobblers.

Mab Marion
Mab Marion
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Nicola Sturgeon was told two years ago to address her falling educational levels, public services and drug deaths before asking for a referendum.

  1. It is a voluntary Union. Scotland voted to stay in it.
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Marion

oh dear the man who invented Fat Shanks has a near clone don’t be fooled

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Marion

Could be the last PM of UK????

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

His last act as PM…I think not, you think your a big fish Nicola…Fat Shanks sacks Gove and next on is hit list must be Priti then he’ll do for the rest of those piranhas he’s been giving breath to…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Simon says bye bye I’m off, Virginia and Hart do a moonlight flit…

Llefain
Llefain
4 months ago

And Starmer has said he would not allow one either. So, Drakeford says no leader should stand in the way, yet here is his leader, side to side with the Cons. Undemocratic, and keeping whole countries hostage for their own agenda. Let us not pretend anymore that Labour can be swayed, they play for and to England only. If you want independence, you need to vote for it. And that means NOT voting for unionist parties. They are not fair dealers in this. “Welsh” Labour AS/MP/FM’s empty words on the subject mean absolutely nothing. We all need to stop being… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
4 months ago

Starmer has explicitly stated that a Labour Government will legislate to “save the Union” and will do so without any sort of referendum. Are Welsh Labour even privy to these plans? Is their constitutional consultation a pointless exercise? Will they roll over and line up behind HQ? What are these plans? Is it democratic to ignore half of the Scottish electorate by refusing to talk to the SNP? What next for Welsh Labour? At what point do you run out of road? What then?

Andrew
Andrew
4 months ago

Never before has one man, done so much, to demolish democracy in the modern age on this island of ours. Democracy is now a slave to big Tech. Pharma,and oil corporations, hedge funds and carbon offset charlatans.The Bullington Club presides over a new ship of fools and Eton flops rule us like we are fodder. How did it get to this? Are we asleep? Are we just echo chamber establishment mushrooms, in a dark bubble discourse, consuming our own media hypocrisy and mediocrity? Can we say, ‘ f#!k love island’, and have the courage to say to our children, ‘accept… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
4 months ago

Dictator Boris Johnson can act like King Canute, attempt to hold back the independence tide, but will eventually get washed away by the democratic will of the Scottish people.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
4 months ago

” UK in chaos” -headlines in almost all media of the world.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
4 months ago

He has “carefully considered” the question, between sips.

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