EDINBURGH – Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the UK government has a “democratic duty” to allow Scotland to vote for its independence for the second time, otherwise “all options” will be considered.
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Sturgeon made his remarks on Thursday, a week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the parliamentary election.
“The question is often posed to me: ‘what will you do if Boris Johnson says no?’ As I’ve said before, I will consider all reasonable options to secure Scotland’s right to self-determination,” said Sturgeon in a speech.
The SNP, which has long opposed Brexit, also won an impressive victory, winning extra seats in the British Parliament. Sturgeon previously stated that the party’s priority is to prevent the United Kingdom from leaving the European Union (EU) without an agreement with Brussels – an option ventilated by the Johnson government.
About 55% of Scottish voters voted in a referendum on staying in the UK in 2014, while 44% voted against. Scotland is now considering another attempt at independence in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.
“The more a Tory (Conservative) government seeks to block the will of the Scottish peoople, the more they show complete and utter contempt for Scottish democracy, the more support for independence will rise, so their short term strategy, in my view sows, the seeds of their longer term defeat,” the official said.
The Scottish government published a paper defending its reasons for holding a second referendum, calling it crucial.
The authorities said in the document that, unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, 62% of Scottish voters chose to stay in the EU. The impending Brexit remains against the will of the people of Scotland, they argued, and leaving the EU would be particularly detrimental to Scottish interests.
The UK government’s approach to the EU exit process has shown that Scotland’s views and interests can and will be set aside, despite claims that the partnership with the UK is between equals.
Johnson has repeatedly promised that the UK will officially leave the EU on January 31 and has seized on his recent election victory as a mandate to fulfill that promise.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the British government rejected Sturgeon’s demands for a new post-Brexit independence referendum, saying it would be a “harmful distraction.”
Holding a new referendum on the issue would also undermine the outcome of the 2014 vote and the promise made to the Scottish people that it was the once-generation vote.