SNP ramps up pressure for second Scottish independence referendum

Following massive electoral gains last week, party leader Nicola Sturgeon says refusal to grant a second vote would be a “subversion of democracy”. 

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Nicola Sturgeon has ramped up the pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant Scotland a second referendum on independence after the Scottish National Party stormed to victory north of the border in last week’s general election.

The SNP won 48 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies, with 45 per cent of the total vote share – a greater proportion than the Conservative Party managed across the rest of the United Kingdom. In Scotland, where their campaign was run on a platform of opposition to Scottish independence (“No to IndyRef2”), the Tories lost more than half of their MPs, dropping from 13 to six.  

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the SNP leader said that the results demonstrated a strong opposition to Conservative policies, the party’s leadership, and its insistence on pursuing the UK’s exit from the European Union. In the referendum on EU membership in 2016, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain. Scottish people have, Sturgeon said, “rejected the Tories, said no to Brexit, and made clear that we want our future in our own hands.”  

She added: “I said this to him [Boris Johnson] on Friday night on the telephone – if he thinks saying no is the end of the matter then he’s going to find himself completely and utterly wrong. It really is such a subversion of democracy that you’re talking to the leader of the party that overwhelmingly won the election [in Scotland], and I’m under pressure to say what I’m doing because the mandate that I won is not going to be honoured by the party that got roundly defeated in Scotland.”

However, opponents to Scottish independence have claimed that Johnson is right not to bow to Sturgeon’s demands, as they feel the result reached by the first independence referendum in 2014 – in which 55.3 per cent of voters opted for Scotland to remain as part of the UK – should be honoured.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, told viewers that “we were told in 2014 that would be a choice for a generation – we are not going to have an independence referendum in Scotland.”

Rohan Banerjee is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman