Nicola Sturgeon says it would be 'completely outrageous' for UK to block indyref after election landslide

Nicola Sturgeon has warned it would be “completely outrageous” for UK the to block a second referendum after her party’s election landslide.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 11:28 am
Updated Sunday, 9th May 2021, 1:34 pm
Nicola Sturgeon appeared on Marr this morning

The First Minister claimed another vote was needed after the SNP and Scottish Greens achieved a majority for independence in the Scottish parliament.

She told BBC’s Andrew Marr show it would be “absurd and completely outrageous” if the UK Government went to court to block a second independence referendum.

Ms Sturgeon stated: “For this to end up in court, which is not something I ever want to see, it would mean a Conservative government had refused to respect the democratic wishes of the Scottish people and the outcome of a democratic election and tried to go to the Supreme Court to overturn Scottish democracy.

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Michael Gove on Marr

“The people of Scotland have voted for the SNP, on the strength of offering, when the time is right, an independence referendum.

“As in 2011, leading up to 2014, any UK Government that has any respect for Scottish democracy would simply accept that and come to an agreement with the Scottish Government that puts it beyond any legal doubt.”

The First Minister was also asked if the legislation for a referendum could be put before the Scottish Parliament early next year, and said she would not “rule that out”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “The people of Scotland re-elected me as First Minister with the first task of continuing to steer us through this pandemic, getting us into recovery.

“Then, of course, there is a question about what kind of recovery do we want? What kind of country are we rebuilding to?

“That brings into sharp focus where do decisions lie. I am not sure the kind of recovery Boris Johnson envisages is one that the majority of people in Scotland would support.”

Dismissing the idea of a legal battle, the First Minister claimed the SNP victory was enough to warrant a second vote.

She said: “There is a fundamental issue of democracy here. We have just won a landslide.

“I am being asked to answer the question ‘what do you do if a UK Government refuses point blank to accept democracy’. That is just an absurd position for anybody to be put into.”

It came as Michel Gove insisted “of course” Scotland would be allowed to leave if it won a legal referendum, but claimed another vote was not a "priority for the moment".

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Asked if there were any circumstances where the UK Government would agree to a second vote, he insisted “it's not an issue for the moment.”

Mr Gove added: "Of course, the people of Scotland, as we saw in the referendum in 2014, they have that right, but it is absolutely important that we concentrate now on the issues in front of us."

Appearing on Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Mr Gove was asked: "If the Scottish parliament passes legislation to move towards another independence referendum will the UK government block it in the courts?"

He replied: "No, we're not even going there at the moment. What we are concentrating on is making sure that we work on recovery."

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster continued: “What I'm going to do is to make sure we do everything we can to concentrate our focus on recovery.

"During the course of the election debate Nicola Sturgeon graciously acknowledged that the Scottish Government had made some mistakes in the past.

"In particular she said they had taken their eye off the ball when it came to dealing with the terrible problem with drugs deaths here in Scotland.

"It's our responsibility to make sure that no one in Holyrood takes their eye off the ball when it comes to dealing not just with drugs deaths but also with the backlog that has been generated in public services in the pandemic.”

The Prime Minister has called a summit with the leaders of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, insisting the UK is "best served when we work together".

Confirming she would attend earlier today, the First Minister promised to work with the Prime Minister on the recovery.

She added: “I also want to be in a position where our decisions around the Covid recovery long-term are not dependent on decisions Boris Johnson takes.

“Because I guess at some point we will find out that takes Scotland in a direction we don’t want to go in.”

Elsewhere Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray insisted an independence referendum was not the priority of the Scottish people at the moment.

He told Sophy Ridge on Sky: “The important thing to realise from these elections, which is critical for all sides of this debate, is that Scotland is completely split down the middle.

“In terms of the constituency vote pro-independence parties just fell short of 50 per cent and on the regional list just got over 50 per cent, so Scotland is completely and utterly split down the middle.

“The First Minister promised this election would be about Covid recovery and we will be holding her to that, and if she brings a bill to parliament about a referendum when she promised it would be about Covid recovery we will certainly not support that.

“What we’re doing and what our MSPs will be doing when we come back to parliament on Thursday is having a sole focus on what everyone promised in this election, which is Covid recovery, that’s the priorities of the Scottish people and that’s the priorities of our MSPs when they go back into that chamber, and it should be the priority for everyone, and both the UK and Scottish government have to work together to make this work, otherwise Scotland and the rest of UK will be much diminished.”

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