In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, the under-fire Prime Minister said he had “carefully considered” her request – but he insisted that he could “not agree that now is the time to return to a question which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014”.
Ms Sturgeon said the refusal to grant the Scottish Parliament the power to hold a vote could be one of Mr Johnson’s last acts as Prime Minister.
The letter, which the Scottish First Minister revealed on Twitter, came in the wake of a series of resignations from Government at Westminster, with many Tories now urging the PM to quit.
Ms Sturgeon insisted: “To be clear, Scotland will have the opportunity to choose independence – I hope in a referendum on 19 October, 2023, but if not, through a general election.”
But Mr Johnson told her: “I have carefully considered the arguments you set out for a transfer of power from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament to hold another referendum on independence.
“As our country faces unprecedented challenges at home and abroad, I cannot agree that now is the time to return to a question, which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014.”
Mr Johnson continued: “Our shared priorities must be to respond effectively to the global cost-of-living challenge, to support our NHS and public services as they recover from the huge disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to play our leading part in the international response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
“These are common challenges across the United Kingdom, which deserve our full attention.”