Ian Blackford: Boris Johnson cannot be 'democracy denier', Scots will have another independence referendum

The SNP Westminster leader has said that the PM cannot be a “democracy denier”

Scots will have the chance to vote in another referendum on independence, the SNP's Westminster leader has claimed.

Ian Blackford warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he cannot be a "democracy denier" if the SNP win a majority in next year's Holyrood election.

He was speaking the day after Mr Johnson visited Scotland, where he talked up the positives of the union in Orkney and Moray and dismissed calls for Scottish independence.

The SNP Westminster leader has said that the PM cannot be a “democracy denier”

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On Thursday morning, hours before he arrived in Orkney, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the PM's presence shows Scotland has "its future decided by politicians we didn't vote for, taking us down a path we haven't chosen".

After the general election in December, in which the SNP won 48 seats, the Prime Minister rejected a request from Ms Sturgeon to grant the powers needed to hold another independence vote and he has repeatedly said since that he will not permit one.

But pressure has ramped up in recent months and two recent Panelbase polls have put support for independence, when undecided voters are removed, at 54%, while also predicting the SNP will win a majority in next May's Holyrood election.

Mr Blackford told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday: "I'd simply say to Boris Johnson that he has to recognise the will of the people of Scotland and the expression of support that they're giving to independence.

"What we will see next year in the elections is a very strong support for the SNP and for independence.

"Boris Johnson has to recognise that vote, he has to recognise democracy. He cannot be a democracy denier.

"We will win this argument, we will have that referendum in Scotland.

"Why is it right that we should be held in a union against the wishes of the people of Scotland?"

Mr Blackford declined to comment on whether the party will seek legal action if a referendum is denied again.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is due to meet Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay on Friday and is expected to lobby for greater fiscal powers for Scotland.

Mr Blackford said: "What devolution has exposed is the limitations that we have.

"We don't have the borrowing powers to be able to take our decisions to make sure we're investing, not just in health, but in economic recovery as well."

He welcomed £1.9 billion which will be sent to Scotland from the UK Government, as announced by Mr Barclay ahead of his visit to Edinburgh.

But Mr Blackford said "it would be normal to expect" the Scottish Government to have the necessary powers to be able to react to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Westminster Government has repeatedly rejected calls from Scottish ministers, along with other devolved administrations, for more flexibility in borrowing and other fiscal powers.

Reporting by PA

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