Europe

British government says ‘no’ to Scotland on new independence vote

The British government has written to the Scottish government on Wednesday, formally denying a request from Edinburgh to hold a new independence referendum. 

At the end of June, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out her legal roadmap to holding a new referendum on independence on 19 October 2023. 

At that time wrote to Boris Johnson indicating that she was “ready and willing” to negotiate a so-called Section 30 order with him, which gives the Scottish government temporary powers to hold a referendum. This was how the 2014 independence referendum was held.

Today, Sturgeon received her reply. 

“As our country faces unprecedented challenges at home and abroad,” wrote Johnson, “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 did not indicate when he thought might be the time to return to the question of holding a Scottish independence referendum. 

In response, Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter that Scottish democracy “will not be a prisoner” of Boris Johnson or any other British prime minister. 

Sturgeon’s ‘mandate for independence poll’

Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party won a landslide victory in the Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2021, with an increased share of the vote and just one seat short of an overall majority – a remarkable result for a party which has been in power since 2007.

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They now govern in a pro-independence coalition with the Scottish Greens who are part of government for the first time.

Sturgeon maintains that her party’s continued electoral success – they also won the 2022 local council elections in Scotland with the biggest share of the vote and increased number of seats – gives her a mandate for a new independence referendum.

The Conservative government in London, Sturgeon has said, “ripped” Scotland out of the EU “against our will” and created the worst cost of living crisis in the G7, with the second worst economic growth in the G20 – except for Russia.

Over generations, Scotland had paid a price for not being independent, the first minister told lawmakers in Edinburgh recently. 

“Now is the time, at this critical moment in history, to debate and decide the future of our country.”

“Now is the time for independence.”

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