Good night forecast for SNP would ‘reinforce’ case for referendum
The SNP’S mandate for a second referendum on independence will have been “reinforced” if the party makes the sweeping gains forecast in exit polls.
The exit poll forecast the Nationalists would take 55 seats, well up on expectations. The result would be just one short of the party’s remarkable haul of 56 seats in 2015, after a campaign over the past month which was dominated by the SNP’S demand for a second referendum on independence next year.
But senior Tories played down claims of a mandate for indyref2 next year in line with Nicola Sturgeon’s demands.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf told Sky News: “Our message could not have been clearer – we stood on a very clear mandate to stop Brexit, to let Scotland have its own say and to lock Boris out of Number 10. Independence was very much front and centre of our campaign.
“Boris Johnson, any UK Government if they’re Democrats cannot deny the voice of the Scottish people – it’s not for Boris Johnson to dictate when there’s another independence referendum. That is a choice for the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament.
“If the SNP wins nobody can deny that gives us a further mandate – we already have a mandate – but a further mandate for another referendum in 2020.”
The election campaign which had focused heavily on the key constitutional issues of Brexit and a second Scottish independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, has already pledged to send a letter requesting Holyrood be given the power to hold a fresh ballot on the issue to the new prime minister before Christmas.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay added: “I think what’s clear from these numbers, even if you look into the detail – it is divergence, we are diverging from the rest of the UK.
“If the rest of the UK has voted Tory we won’t be getting Brexit done, it will just be the next stage of this whole sorry saga,”
Scots Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said the predicted Tory majority of 86 would be the party’s best result since 1987. “This would be giving a Conservative Government for the UK with a working majority, a very substantial working majority able to carry forward its agenda for the next five years and able to get Brexit done,” her added.
But Mr Fraser played down suggestions that the result in Scotland gave the SNP a mandate for independence.
Clockwise from far left: Boris Johnson goes to vote with his dog Dilyn; Jeremy Corbyn; Jo Swinson and her partner Duncan Hames; Nicola Sturgeon; Elmo in action in Islington; the Edinburgh count gets under way; the count begins in East Renfrewshire; Boris Johnson campaigning in South Ruislip
0 Humza Yousaf: ‘We stood on a very clear mandate to stop Brexit’