Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited the leaders of the UK’s devolved nations to crisis talks over the union after the pro-independence Scottish National Party won its fourth successive parliamentary election.
- Mr Johnson congratulated Nicola Sturgeon on his party’s victory in the Scottish election
- He invited leaders from every UK government to discuss ‘common challenges’ and how they can be overcome
- Ms Sturgeon said a Scottish independence referendum is ‘now a matter of fundamental democratic principle’
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the election results proved a second vote for Scottish independence was “the will of the country” and that any London politician who opposed it would “fight with the democratic wishes of the Scottish people“. .
Mr Johnson congratulated Ms Sturgeon on her re-election but told government leaders the UK was ‘best served when we work together’.
The letter invited the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to a summit to ‘discuss our common challenges and how we can work together in the months and years ahead to overcome them’ .
Final local election results on Thursday showed the SNP winning 64 of 129 seats in the Edinburgh-based Scottish Parliament.
One seat short of an outright majority, Parliament still had a pro-independence majority with the help of eight members of the Scottish Greens.
Ms Sturgeon said her immediate priority would be guiding Scotland through the pandemic.
But she said an independence referendum was “now a matter of fundamental democratic principle”.
Mr Johnson has the ultimate power to decide whether or not to allow another referendum on Scottish independence.
He wrote in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph that another Scotland referendum would be “irresponsible and reckless” as Britain emerges from the pandemic.
He has always maintained that the issue was settled in a 2014 referendum where 55% of Scottish voters favored keeping part of the UK.
Proponents of another vote say the situation has fundamentally changed due to the UK’s divorce from the European Union, with Scotland leaving the EU against its wishes.
In the 2016 Brexit referendum, 52% of British voters backed leaving the EU, but 62% of Scots voted to stay.
Asked about the prospect of Mr Johnson agreeing to a second Scottish referendum, Britain’s Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said on Sunday “it’s not a problem at the moment” and that the national priority is to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated the United Kingdom. with more than 127,000 deaths, the fifth highest national total in the world.
“If we get drawn into a conversation about referendums and constitutions, we distract from the issues that matter most to the people of Scotland and the UK,” Mr Gove told Sky News.