SNP plot for illegal Scottish referendum dashed – Boris sends clear warning to Sturgeon

Scotland: Second referendum would be ‘illegal’ says Ross

At the weekend the SNP released an 11-point “roadmap” to a second independence referendum. The document indicated the party would push to hold a referendum if it won a majority at the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

To hold a referendum, the Scottish parliament requires the consent of the Prime Minister.

However, Ms Sturgeon has indicated she would be willing to hold a vote without the permission of Mr Johnson.

This afternoon Downing Street made it clear any attempt to hold such a vote would be illegal and would be an overstretch of Ms Sturgeon’s powers as First Minister.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Section 30 is a reserved matter and holding an independence referendum does go beyond the power of the Scottish Parliament.

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“The Prime Minister has always said, repeatedly, and been clear, that the Scottish people have had a vote on this issue and decided to remain a part of the UK.”

He added Mr Johnson believes the UK is “the most successful political and economic union that the world has ever seen”.

His comments come on the same day Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross criticised the SNP’s plans to hold “another divisive referendum”.

“They should be fighting to protect jobs, they should be fighting to protect the businesses who are struggling to survive, rather than fighting for another divisive independence referendum, indeed even threatening to go to court for that,” he said.

“It is moving all the focus away from what Scottish politicians should be concentrating on right now: protecting jobs, improving the economy, supporting communities right across the country, making sure our education system is fit for our young people.

“That is where the focus should be, not on wildcat referendums, which I would absolutely boycott because they would be an absolute waste of precious time and resources when our focus should be on defeating Covid-19, rolling out the vaccine and concentrating on our economic recovery.”

Mr Johnson’s spokesman also said the Scottish Government should be fully focused on the pandemic.

“Now more than ever the people of the UK want to see the government and devolved administrations working together to protect lives and livelihoods across our country.

“There is no doubt the union has been critical in the development, procurement and administration of the vaccine programme,” he said.

“The Prime Minister’s focus is on defeating coronavirus as the Government top priority.”

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The SNP’s Constitution Secretary Mike Russell has said his party will plough ahead with plans for a referendum regardless of its legitimacy.

He said: “I think it’s such a bad look for any government to say: ‘Even if the people of Scotland vote for something, we’ll take them to court to stop them’.”

Ms Sturgeon has called Mr Johnson a “cowerin, timorous beastie” and claimed his refusal to grant permission for a new referendum shows “fears the will of the Scottish people”.

There have now been 20 consecutive opinion polls suggesting a majority of Scots could vote in favour of independence.

Gordon Brown hits out at ‘unfair’ independence referendum

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged the Government to consider major reform to the constitutional make-up of the UK to save the union, warning “the choice is now between a reformed state and a failed state”.

He wrote in The Daily Telegraph today: “It is indeed Scotland where dissatisfaction is so deep that it threatens the end of the United Kingdom.

“For the first time, a majority of Scots now feel, according to recent polls, that Scotland and the rest of the UK are moving inexorably in opposite directions and nearly half of all Scots who have a view believe – against all the evidence – that Scotland would be better off economically independent, and they feel that the Union undermines Scotland’s distinctive identity.”

He added: “For too long we have left unstated the shared purpose and values that bind the UK together, and we have said too little about what we have in common – our shared beliefs in tolerance, liberty, civic responsibility and fairness, and our conviction that all benefit when we pool and share risks and resources across the country.”

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