Boris Johnson‘s controversial decision to suspend Parliament in the build up to Brexit may be the moment that Scottish independence became “completely inevitable”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
On Wednesday, The Scottish First Minister claimed that support for leaving the UK was growing with each passing day, accusing the Prime Minister of acting like “some kind of tinpot dictator”.
She also said the suspension proved Mr Johnson would be willing to shut down the Scottish Parliament to achieve his political aims, a suggestion she had previously regarded as “silly”.
But the Scottish Conservatives backed the move, arguing there would still be “ample” time for MPs to debate Brexit and describing the SNP‘s reaction as “predictably hysterical”.
Ms Sturgeon described the decision to prorogue Parliament as “absolutely outrageous” and challenged Mr Johnson to call an election before 31 October, when the UK is set to leave the EU.
“Shutting down parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit – which will do untold and lasting damage to the country against the wishes of MPs – is not democracy, it’s dictatorship,” she added.
“If MPs don’t come together next week to stop Boris Johnson in his tracks, then I think today will go down in history as the day UK democracy died. This simply can’t be allowed to happen.”
Ms Sturgeon has said she would like another referendum on independence to be held towards the end of next year, with MSPs set to debate legislation paving the way for a vote in the coming days.
However, a legally binding referendum would first require permission from Westminster, something Mr Johnson is likely to resist unless public support for indyref2 increases significantly.
Ms Sturgeon said she was confident this would happen, adding: “[Today] may well be the day that we look back on as the day when independence for Scotland became completely inevitable.”
She also raised the prospect of a Holyrood shut down, arguing that the UK Government had proved it has “no respect for constitutional norms”.
“It’s no longer ridiculous to say that a Prime Minister that’s prepared to shut down the House of Commons wouldn’t be prepared to do that to the Scottish Parliament,” she added.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who has clashed with Mr Johnson over Brexit in the past, was silent on the issue, prompting claims from the SNP that she had gone into “hiding”.
But the party’s constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said other parties were being “predictably hysterical” about the suspension of Parliament.
“Of course, Nicola Sturgeon wasted no time in using this as another way of agitating for independence,” he added.
“The aim is still to strike a deal with the EU and, if and when that happens, there will be plenty of time for MPs to either vote for that, or vote for a no-deal Brexit.”