Scottish independence: Boris Johnson to assert IndyRef2 will not be granted even if SNP win election in May

Boris Johnson is set to confirm he will not allow a second Scottish independence referendum – even if the SNP emerge victorious from May's Holyrood elections.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister will lay down his stance on the subject during an address to the Scottish Conservative Party conference on Sunday, arguing that holding a vote during the Covid-19 pandemic would be “reckless”.

A UK Government source told the paper: “Absolutely, now is not the time for a reckless independence referendum. We need to be pulling together.”

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Another said: “We’re not having a referendum in the middle of a pandemic.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s party has made clear it will use an SNP victory in the Holyrood elections as a mandate to push for another ballot on the future of the UK.

The survey, conducted for The Scotsman by Savanta ComRes, found that 45% of respondents said they would vote Yes if the vote was held tomorrow, while 47% said they would vote No and 8% said they did not know.

When unsure voters were excluded, 51% said they would vote in favour of the union while 49% would vote for independence.

Boris Johnson will not grant a second Scottish independence referendum.
Boris Johnson will not grant a second Scottish independence referendum.

The poll interviewed 1,009 people aged 16 and over between March 5 and 10.

The poll in The Scotsman indicated the SNP is no longer on course for a majority in Holryood elections in May.

It found that the SNP would return 64 MSPs, missing out on a majority by one seat.

The number of Conservative MSPs would fall from 31 to 30, and Labour would drop from 24 to 20.

The Liberal Democrats would retain their five MSPs while the Scottish Greens would win four more seats.

Last week, Ian Blackford said a Scottish independence referendum could take place “as early as late 2021”.

The SNP Westminster leader also warned Mr Johnson that he “cannot stand in the face of democracy” in the event that the SNP wins a majority in the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

He said: “Democracy has got to prevail and there’s been a long-held, cherished position that in Scotland sovereignty rests with the people.

“There’s never been a situation in Scotland that sovereignty has rested with Westminster, has rested with Parliament, and you can go right back to the Declaration of Arbroath, the claim of right and everything that’s gone around that, that does demonstrate that in the end, it has to be about the will of the people, to be able to choose their own future.

“And I’d say to Boris Johnson or anybody else in the Tory party that they cannot stand in the face of democracy, they cannot stand in that will of the Scottish people to see their sovereignty enacted, to have that discussion, to have that debate and to make that determination as to whether or not we wish to be independent.

“And certainly that’s the case that if we win the election, and I’ll never take anything for granted, that we’d be making that case pretty robustly.

“We will support our colleagues in government in Edinburgh in making sure that we get what the Scottish people vote for.”

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