Scottish independence: 'The idea that the UK is a voluntary union is now dead and buried' Ian Blackford and Rishi Sunak clash in heated PMQs

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have clashed in a heated exchange in the Commons following the Supreme Court ruling on Scottish independence.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Blackford told the Commons: “This morning the Supreme Court clarified a point of law, that the very point of democracy in this union is now at stake. And democracy will not be denied.

“Because whether Westminster likes it or not, last year the people of Scotland voted for a Scottish Parliament with a majority and the mandate to deliver an independence referendum. The Prime Minister has every right to oppose independence. He has no right to deny democracy to the people of Scotland.

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“If the Prime Minster keeps blocking that referendum, will he at least be honest and confirm that the very idea that the United Kingdom is a voluntary union of nations is now dead and buried?”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have clashed in a heated exchange in the Commons following the Supreme Court ruling.
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Mr Sunak told MPs: “We respect the clear and definitive ruling from the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.” He added: “The people of Scotland want us to be working on fixing the major challenges that we collectively face, whether that’s the economy, supporting the NHS or indeed supporting Ukraine.

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“Now is the time for politicians to work together and that’s what this Government will do.”

Mr Blackford hit back, saying Mr Sunak could not respect the rule of law, but deny democracy, stating: “It is right that we respect the decision of the court. But the Prime Minister can’t claim to respect the rule of law and then deny democracy in the very same breath.

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“If democracy is to matter, if elections matter, then mandates matter. Since 2014 the Scottish National Party has won eight elections in a row, last year we won a landslide. The Scottish Parliament now has the biggest majority for an independence referendum in the history of devolution.

“The Prime Minister doesn’t even have a personal mandate to sit in 10 Downing Street. What right does a man with no mandate have to deny Scottish democracy?”

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Mr Sunak responded: “When it comes to Scottish democracy, I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has one of the most powerful devolved assemblies anywhere in the world.

“I was pleased, very shortly after becoming Prime Minister, to be the first Prime Minister in over a decade to attend the council, to sit down with the First Minister, to explore ways in which we can work together with the Scottish Government to deliver for the people of Scotland.

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“Whether that’s delivering on growth deals, delivering freeports or ensuring that the £1.5 billion of extra Barnett money can go towards supporting public services.”

Former prime minister Theresa May also urged the SNP to put the people of Scotland first and end its “obsession” with “breaking us apart”. She told PMQs: “Scotland is a proud nation with a unique heritage. It is a valued member of our family of nations, a union of people bound through the generations by shared interests.

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“Does my right honourable fried agree with me that this morning’s Supreme Court decision gives the Scottish nationalists, the SNP, the opportunity for once to put the people of Scotland first and end its obsession with breaking us apart?”

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