PM urged to allow SNP referendum and ‘send the separatists packing once and for all’

Nicola Sturgeon tells Jon Kay ‘please listen to me’ in clash

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Nicola Sturgeon yesterday laid out her party’s “route map” to another vote on her country’s position in the UK, which she hopes to be held in October next year. But she insisted this must be a “legal, constitutional referendum” and is approaching the UK’s Supreme Court on the lawfulness of the Scottish Government’s direction of travel.

Telegraph Assistant Editor Philip Johnston highlighted that this puts the Prime Minister in a difficult position.

He wrote: “If the court comes down on her side, it would put Mr Johnson in a serious quandary.

“If it rules against her then she will just say that proves that Scotland is a vassal state and fight a general election on the single issue of independence.”

Mr Johnson has insisted now is not the time for a second independence vote.

Responding to the renewed call for a referendum, he said: “The decision was taken by the Scottish people only a few years ago, in recent memory.

“I think we should respect that.”

Ms Sturgeon stressed it was the UK Government, not the SNP, that was failing to “respect Scottish democracy”.

Scottish democracy would not, she added, be “prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister” who rejects a vote.

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Rather than try to bat against this divisive rhetoric, Mr Johnston encouraged the Prime Minister to give the SNP its vote and close the debate once and for all.

He wrote: “[Mr Johnson] risks the future of the Union if he misjudges [Ms Sturgeon’s] ability to tap into a bottomless reservoir of perceived injustices.

“Mr Johnson must not let her get away with it.

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“Let her have the referendum and send the separatists packing once and for all.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross responded to Ms Sturgeon’s laying out of her independence vote objectives that the First Minister “has shown again… that the SNP’s selfish obsession with a divisive referendum is always their top priority”, which points to the notion that shutting the debate would result in the prioritisation of other political issues.

To allow the SNP its referendum on the basis of closing off the debate would, however, have to be grounded in a confidence that the same side of the argument would win as last time.

Ms Sturgeon is adamant that had Scots known in 2014 the UK was about to leave the EU, they would have “undoubtedly” voted for Scottish independence.

Some suggest polling shows the Scottish people have not, in fact, changed their minds since 2014, though this could, of course, change after a long, focussed campaign for independence – one which now has the benefit of hindsight.

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