UK elections: Scotland leader pushes for independence vote

Nov 27, 2019
London:  The Scottish National Party published its manifesto on Wednesday pushing for a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom, something Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, speaking at the manifesto launch, said she wants to hold an independence referendum next year.

Political leaders in the UK are in campaign mode trying to win over as many voters as they can for next month’s general election.

Brits will go to the polls on 12 December, two and a half years after the country’s previous general election in June 2017.

Johnson has “guaranteed” there will not be a Scottish independence referendum if the Conservatives win in the polls next month.

Sturgeon promised that a vote for the SNP would let Scots “escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.

She accused Johnson of being “unfit for office” and said his Brexit deal would be a “nightmare” for her country.

“A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit. It is a vote to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, and it is a vote to deprive Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party of a majority,” she added.

“The reality of Westminster control over Scotland is this: a right-wing Tory government Scotland didn’t vote for and a prime minister in Boris Johnson who is dangerous and unfit for office.”

In a 2014 referendum Scots chose to remain part of the UK by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

The UK voted to leave the European Union by 52 per cent to 48 per cent in June 2016.

The debate on Scotland’s independence from the UK reemerged after the Brexit vote, with only 38 per cent of Scots voting to leave the bloc.

Any referendum on Scottish independence requires approval from Westminster.

Sturgeon said that because of Johnson’s “hard line position” there is “every chance the UK will leave without a trade deal next year”.

“That would be a catastrophe for jobs,” she added.

“And even if he somehow avoids that, his dream deal will be a nightmare for Scotland.

“It will take Scotland out of the single market – which is eight times the size of the UK alone – and out of the Customs Union, the world’s biggest trading block.”

The SNP won 35 seats in the country’s last general election two years ago, making it the third biggest party in parliament which has governed in Scotland for 12 years.

It also took 37 per cent of votes in Scotland in recent European elections, its best ever result, and increased its number of MEPs from two to three in European Parliament.

Sturgeon said the result was a clear anti-Brexit message. IANS