Scottish independence: Boris Johnson responds to potential SNP ‘wildcat referendum’
During his visit to a vaccination site at Barnet Football Club in north London on Monday morning, the Prime Minister was asked if he would legally challenge Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for an advisory independence referendum if the SNP wins a majority in May’s Holyrood elections.
It comes as the SNP published its ‘roadmap to a referendum’ over the weekend which could see the party stage its own poll which would then be open to a court challenge by the UK Government.
Mr Johnson said: “The whole UK is going through a pandemic, I think what the people of the UK want to see is everybody focussing on beating that pandemic, which we are, rolling out the vaccine, and getting ready to bounce back from that pandemic and have the strongest possible economic recovery.
“I think people also can see everywhere in the UK the visible benefits of our wonderful union.
“A vaccine programme that is being rolled out by a National Health Service, a vaccine that was developed in labs in Oxford and is being administered by the British Army, so I think the strengths and advantages of the Union speak for themselves.”
Yesterday, The Sunday Times published the results of opinion polls in the four nations of the UK, which found a majority of voters think Scotland is likely to be independent in the next 10 years.
In Scotland, the poll found that 49% backed independence compared with 44% against – a margin of 52% to 48% if the undecideds are excluded.
As reported in today’s Scotsman, the UK government has launched a fresh drive to save the union, with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said to have held talks with former prime minister Gordon Brown on strategies to combat the SNP.
During an interview on Sunday's edition of The Andrew Marr show, Ms Sturgeon invoked the spirit of Robert Burns, branding the Prime Minister a “cowerin’ timorous beastie” for continuing to block the “will of the Scottish people”.