Scottish government sets stage for another independence vote

Scottish government sets stage for another independence vote

Scottish government sets stage for another independence vote

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that Westminster has no right to block a second vote on Scottish independence as she claimed an "emphatic victory" in the Holyrood election - despite the SNP failing to secure an overall majority.

She stated: "It looks as though it is beyond any doubt that there will be a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament and by any normal standard of democracy that majority should have the commitments it made to the people of Scotland honoured".

The prime minister has called a summit with the leaders of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, saying the United Kingdom is "best served when we work together".

She said an independence referendum was "the will of the country". It is the will of the country.

"There is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for [PM] Boris Johnson or indeed for anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our own future", she said.

Sturgeon added: "If the Tories make such an attempt they won't be placing themselves in opposition to the SNP, they will be standing in direct opposition to the will of the Scottish people".

The election outcome is likely to be a bitter clash between the Scottish government in Edinburgh and Johnson's United Kingdom-wide administration in London, with Scotland's 314-year union with England and Wales at stake. But that will cut no ice with the SNP.

Ms Sturgeon said any attempt to prevent it would "demonstrate conclusively that the United Kingdom is not a partnership of equals and that - astonishingly - Westminster no longer sees the United Kingdom as a voluntary union of nations".

The prime minister congratulated Ms Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on their re-elections and invited them to a summit "to discuss our shared challenges and how we can work together in the coming months and years to overcome them".

The message was clear: An independence referendum is not up for debate. "Our focus is on recovery and recovery from the pandemic", a United Kingdom government official said. "The incoming Scottish government must focus on that too".

Sturgeon said her first task was dealing with the pandemic and the SNP has indicated that a referendum is unlikely until 2023.

"I've obviously looked at the ballot boxes at the count and they've given us some very good ones - Aberdeenshire had over 10% in a couple of the ballot boxes", he said.

The SNP is expected to take the most seats and Ms. Sturgeon will return to government with support of the Green Party, which also supports independence and is expected to finish with nine Members of the Scottish Parliament, or MSPs.

The prime minister wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper published Saturday that another referendum would be "irresponsible and reckless" in the "current context" as Britain emerges from the pandemic.

Another MP said the Conservative campaign message, urging voters to back the Tories to deprive the SNP of a majority, had been vindicated. Without that, the SNP doesn't have a reasonable chance of a majority.

To be sure, the electoral system in Scotland is proportional, giving smaller parties a leg-up at the expense of the dominance of a few. But supporters of the union argue that without an SNP majority, there is no mandate for a referendum.

A special election was held in the town of Hartlepool in northern England where Britain's governing Conservative Party won a parliamentary seat previously held by the Labour Party since 1974.

In Eastwood, a three-way marginal between the two unionist parties and the SNP turned into a relatively comfortable win for former Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw.

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