Week after Johnson’s win, Sturgeon calls on PM to allow indyref2

Scotland’s pro-independence first minister seeks second referendum in bid to remain in EU as Johnson pursues Brexit.

Boris Johnson (L) and Scotland''s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Sturgeon has repeatedly said that her UK constituent nation should be allowed the right to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence [File: Duncan McGlynn/Pool/AFP]

Nicola Sturgeon has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant Holyrood the power to hold a second vote on Scottish independence.

The call comes one week after Johnson’s Conservative Party scooped a victory in the United Kingdom general elections.

Sturgeon,  Scotland’s first minister, said at her official Bute House residence on Thursday: “The mandate we have to offer the Scottish people a choice over their future is, by any normal standard of democracy, unarguable.

“We are therefore today calling for the UK government to negotiate and agree the transfer of power that would put beyond doubt the Scottish Parliament’s right to legislate for a referendum on independence.”

Powers to hold a referendum are reserved to Westminster, therefore what is known as a “Section 30 order” is required if an independence ballot is to be held in Scotland.

Sturgeon has formally written to Johnson, calling for a Section 30 order to be granted.

On December 12, Johnson’s Conservatives swept to power with a large majority of 364 seats, while Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party ( SNP) won 47 out of the total 59 seats in Scotland.

Why does Sturgeon want another referendum?

While England and Wales voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against Brexit and wanted to remain in the bloc.

Sturgeon has repeatedly said that her UK constituent nation should be allowed the right to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence, known as “indyref2”, so Scotland could remain in the EU. 

The first Scottish independence referendum in 2014 saw most Scots voting to remain in the UK.

Johnson is expected to refuse Sturgeon’s request for another vote.

“The Tories [Conservatives] are in effect saying to people here that democracy in Scotland stopped the day we voted No in 2014. That cannot and that will not hold,” said Sturgeon.

“In 2014, a majority of people did indeed vote No to independence, but in 2016 an overwhelming majority voted to Remain in the European Union. Despite that overwhelming vote, within a matter of weeks the Tories intend to remove Scotland from the EU.

“The future that the people of Scotland once chose is simply no longer available to them.”

Scotland’s nationalist government will consider all options to achieve self-determination if the British government tries to stop it from holding a referendum, Sturgeon warned. 

“The question is often posed to me: ‘What will you do if Boris Johnson says no?’ As I’ve said before, I will consider all reasonable options to secure Scotland’s right to self-determination.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies