PM refuses to allow second independence referendum
Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed Boris Johnson’s position on Scottish independence as “unsustainable and self-defeating” after he wrote to her to reject her request for a transfer of powers necessary to hold a second referendum.
Scotland’s first minister said: “The Westminster union cannot be sustained without consent. Democracy will prevail. The only question is how long it will take the Tories and the rest of the Westminster establishment to accept that inevitability.”
The Scottish National party leader wrote to Johnson on 19 December to request the powers to stage another referendum under section 30 of the 1998 Scotland Act.
When Sturgeon confirmed she had made the request, a week after securing 47 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats with an increased vote share of 45% in December’s general election, she said she “fully expected to get a flat no” from Westminster initially.
Johnson said yesterday he had “carefully considered and noted” Sturgeon’s arguments but argued: “Another independence referendum would continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade, with Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs again left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK.”
Johnson stated that he “cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to any further independence referendums”, appearing to rule out another vote even if there is a pro-independence majority in next year’s Holyrood elections.
Responding to Johnson, Sturgeon accused the Tories of being “terrified of Scotland having the right to choose our own future” ... It is not politically sustainable for any Westminster government to stand in the way of the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future and to seek to block the clear democratic mandate for an independence referendum.”
Sturgeon said the Scottish government would set out its next steps this month, when it will ask the Holyrood parliament to again endorse the staging of a second referendum.