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Johnson holds losing hand on indyref2, warns Blackford

Ian Blackford said Mr Johnson must respect democracy and the people of Scotland and honour a second independence referendum in 2020.

Mr Blackford called on Mr Johnson to ‘respect the democracy and the Scottish people’ and honour a second Scottish independence referendum (PA)
Mr Blackford called on Mr Johnson to ‘respect the democracy and the Scottish people’ and honour a second Scottish independence referendum (PA)

By Sophie Morris, PA Political Staff

Boris Johnson holds a “losing hand” when it comes to a second Scottish independence referendum, Ian Blackford has warned.

The SNP’s Westminster leader said that Mr Johnson must respect democracy and the people of Scotland and honour a second referendum.

He added that the vote must “absolutely” take place in 2020, while the UK “is still in transition”.

On Sunday, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that Mr Johnson refusing to grant a second referendum would not be “the end of the matter”.

But Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove told Sky’s Ridge On Sunday that the SNP did not have a mandate for such a vote.

Asked whether the SNP is powerless to stopping Mr Johnson from ignoring the independence demands for the next five years, Mr Blackford told the PA news agency: “The fact of the matter is that we’ve won the election in Scotland.

“80% of the parliamentary seats from Scotland here in Westminster are held by the SNP.

“We have a mandate. Boris Johnson stood on a ticket in Scotland of rejecting an independence referendum – well he got his answer from the people of Scotland, he lost more than half his seats.

“He’s 20% behind the SNP in the poll last week. He has to respect democracy, he has to respect that the people of Scotland have spoken.

“We have that mandate, we have that right, he now needs to transfer that power to the Scottish Parliament and we can have that referendum next year.

“We’ve got the opportunity through independence of securing our destiny as a European nation remaining in the European Union. Boris Johnson cannot stand in the way of the votes of the people of Scotland that have voted for the SNP, rejected the Tories, and rejected Boris Johnson.”

Under the Scotland Act 1998, the Scottish Parliament cannot pass legislation on matters “reserved” for Westminster, including the union.

Mr Blackford refused to disclose what action the SNP plans to take to ensure a referendum takes place if Mr Johnson refuses to grant it.

“Well let’s wait and see when we put the request in over the coming days.

“But I’d simply say to him, Boris Johnson, it’s not a good look for a Prime Minister when his administration has previously said that Scotland would be respected, when he turns around and he ignores the mandate that the Scottish government has – it won’t do.

“This is a losing hand that Boris Johnson holds. We will have that referendum. It’s better that that’s done in the short term. Scotland will have the right to choose its own future,” he said.

Mr Blackford told PA that he “absolutely” believes that a second independence referendum will happen in 2020.

He said: “This referendum must happen in 2020 because we’ve got to make sure that we vote for Independence whilst the UK is still in transition.”

Mr Blackford added it is “completely bogus” to say that the Scottish people already had their once in a generation referendum.

“The simple fact of the matter is in 2014 when we had that referendum we were told that if we stayed in the UK that our rights as EU citizens would be respected.

“That promise has been broken, and those changes of circumstances and the mandate that the Scottish government won to the Scottish Parliament in 2016, it is right that we have that referendum,” he said.

PA

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