UK PM rejects Scottish independence referendum, citing Ukraine — Analysis
The troubled prime minister stated that Covid-19, Ukraine and Scottish sovereignty are more important than Scottish sovereignty
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister rejected Wednesday’s request from Nicola Sturgeon for a legally binding referendum to end British rule. With Johnson fighting for his political life in London, he told Sturgeon that rising costs, Covid-19, and Britain’s support for Ukraine are more important issues.
Last month, Sturgeon declared that an additional independence referendum will be held in Oct 2023. This is nine years after the Scottish people voted to leave the United Kingdom.
Johnson declined to grant Sturgeon the crucial transfer, as it would not be possible to transfer power temporarily from London to Holyrood.
“I cannot agree that now is the time to return to a question, which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014,”Johnson wrote. Johnson wrote instead that the PM should tell Scotland and the UK to focus on their own interests. “shared priorities,”Which he described as responding to inflation and recovering from the coronavirus panademic. “our leading part in the international response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.”
This was Johnson’s last act as PM. For clarity, Scotland will be able to vote for independence. This I hope through a referendum in October 2023, or, if not a general election. The Scottish democratic process will not be held hostage to this PM or any other. pic.twitter.com/EAgIVvEuoc
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 6, 2022
Johnson described these problems as “common challenges across the United Kingdom,” paying particular attention to Ukraine by thanking Sturgeon for committing £65 million ($77.5 million) to arming Kiev.
Sturgeon seemed dismissive. In a post on Twitter, she described Johnson’s letter as possibly “one of his last acts as PM,”This is a reference the demands for Johnson’s resignation after his ministers quit on Tuesday and Wednesday citing numerous scandals at Downing Street.
“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,”Twitter, she wrote. “Scottish democracy will not be a prisoner of this or any PM.”
Without Johnson granting a transfer of power, Sturgeon’s only hope for independence would rest on Parliament in Westminster passing a bill to recognize a successful vote. Even if general elections were called, it is not clear that the majority of MPs support such an initiative.
In 2014’s referendum, Scots voted 55-44% to remain in the UK. The Scottish vote overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU two years later. While Sturgeon promised that Scotland would be able to rejoin the European bloc if it achieved independence, only one poll has shown that a small majority of voters support this move. Another survey by YouGov and Ipsos shows that voters are split between independence and the EU by anywhere from one to eight points.