Scottish independence: Johnson rejects Sturgeon’s indyref2 demand

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Ms Sturgeon has previously warned that a "flat no" from Mr Johnson to her request would "not be the end of the matter".

The UK government has formally rejected a call from Scotland’s first minister for a second independence referendum.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a referendum would “continue the political stagnation Scotland has seen for the past decade”.

Johnson also referred to the fact that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had previously pledged that the 2014 referendum would be a “once in a generation” vote“.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted that the Tories were attempting to “deny democracy”.

She said Mr Johnson’s formal refusal of her request for a referendum to be held later this year was “predictable but also unsustainable and self defeating”, and insisted that “Scotland will have the right to choose”.

The first minister also said the Scottish government would set out its response and “next steps” before the end of the month, and that the devolved Scottish Parliament would again be asked to “back Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.

Scottish voters backed remaining in the UK by 55% to 45% in the referendum in 2014.

Ms Sturgeon says she wants to hold another vote on independence, and made a formal request last month for the UK government to transfer powers – known as a Section 30 order – to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh that would ensure any referendum is legal.

The request came after Ms Sturgeon’s SNP, which forms the Scottish government, won 48 of the 59 seats in Scotland in the UK general election.

In his written response to Ms Sturgeon, the prime minister said he had “carefully considered and noted” her arguments.

The Scottish people voted decisively to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect.

But he said: “You and your predecessor (Alex Salmond) made a personal promise that the 2014 independence referendum was a “once in a generation” vote.

“The people of Scotland voted decisively on that promise to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK governments committed to respect in the Edinburgh Agreement.”

In a Tweet Johnson declared:

Today I have written to Nicola Sturgeon. The Scottish people voted decisively to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect.

Let’s make 2020 a year of growth and opportunity for the whole of the UK 🇬🇧

Responding to Mr Johnson via Twitter, she said the rejection showed the “Tories are terrified of Scotland’s right to choose” because she claims they know the electorate will “choose independence”.

Sturgeon replied in a series of tweets

“The problem for the Tories is the longer they try to block democracy, the more they show the Westminster union is not one of equals and fuel support for independence.

“This response predictable – but also unsustainable and self defeating. Scotland will have the right to choose.”

The PM said another independence vote would “continue the political stagnation” that Scotland has seen for the last decade.

Johnson claimed a fresh “campaign to separate the UK” would see Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs “again left behind”.

He added: “The UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people and the promise that you made to them. For that reason I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.”

He was replying to a formal request made by Ms Sturgeon last month, in which she said there was a “democratic case” for a second ballot to be held on the issue.

She made the comment as the Scottish Parliament passed the Referendums (Scotland) Bill which agreed IndyRef2 should be held if the prime minister allows it.

She claimed the SNP’s huge majority in Scotland following the 2019 general election provided the party with an “unarguable” mandate to hold a new poll.

The first minister said the Scottish Government would set out its response and the next steps it will take before the end of January – adding she would also ask MSPs at Holyrood to “back Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.

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