PM formally rejects calls for second referendum on Scottish independence
The prime minister Boris Johnson has formally rejected calls by the Scottish National Party for a second independence referendum.
Following the December general election, which saw the SNP secure 47 of Scotland’s 59 seats, first minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Johnson formally requesting the Scottish parliament be given permanent powers to hold referendums on independence from the UK.
At the time, Sturgeon said there was an “unarguable mandate” following the SNP’s election success.
But in a reply sent on Tuesday, Johnson said he “cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums”.
He continued: “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.
“It is time we all worked to bring the whole of the United Kingdom together and unleash the potential of this great country.”
Tweeting the letter, Johnson added: “The Scottish people voted decisively to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect. Let’s make 2020 a year of growth and opportunity for the whole of the UK.”
In response, Sturgeon said: “The Tories are terrified of Scotland having the right to choose our own future.
“While today’s response is not surprising – indeed we anticipated it – it will not stand.
“As well as being unsustainable, the position set out by the UK government is also an entirely self-defeating one.”
Sturgeon said the Scottish government would set out its response and next steps by the end of the month, “when we will also ask the Scottish parliament to again endorse Scotland’s right to choose”.
In the 2014 independence referendum, Scotland voted against leaving the union by 55% to 45%. The turnout was 85%.