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October election ‘fantastic opportunity’ for Scots to demand second referendum

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the party would use a general election campaign to pursue the issue.

The SNP would make the case for a second independence referndum if Boris Johnson decides to hold an October general election (Danny Lawson/PA)
The SNP would make the case for a second independence referndum if Boris Johnson decides to hold an October general election (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

An October general election would be a “fantastic opportunity” for Scots to demand a second vote on independence, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said.

Ian Blackford confirmed that if Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to hold a snap election next month, the SNP would focus its campaign on the ability of Scots to “determine their future”.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader, has already declared “bring it on” to the prospect of an early general election.

And Mr Blackford told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We’re faced with the issue that the people of Scotland are expressing in opinion polls that they want that referendum on independence.

“If there is a general election, there is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Scotland to send a very clear message to Westminster that we should be able to determine our own future.”

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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford. (Victoria Jones/PA)

He spoke out as MPs returned to the House of Commons after the summer recess, with opposition MPs and some rebel Tories looking to take control of parliamentary business to try to bring forward legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

However, sources have said that if they are successful in this, Mr Johnson will push for a general election on October 14.

With SNP MPs set to join with other parties and vote against the Prime Minister, Mr Blackford said: “If we take away that risk of leaving the EU at the end of October, let’s have that election, let’s give the people the right to have their say on where we stand.”

He added: “Boris Johnson was elected by Tory members, he has no mandate from the people.”

He continued: “I think there is a very clear difference with what is happening in other parts of the United Kingdom and what is happening in Scotland – the people in Scotland don’t want to leave the European Union.

“There will come a point when the people of Scotland have the right to make their own determination as to where do they want to go to.”

While the leaders of the pro-UK parties have made clear their opposition to a second referendum on Scottish independence, Mr Blackford insisted: “I think Boris Johnson and everyone else are going to have to face reality. It is the right of the people of Scotland to determine their future.

“If they sent an overwhelming group of SNP MPs down here again, I think there is a very clear message that the people of Scotland have their say on their future.”

And he claimed that any ballot “has to be about the right of the people of Scotland to make their own choice as to what their future will be”.

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