Scotland: Second referendum would be ‘illegal’ says Ross
Christina McKelvie, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Older People and Equalities, and SNP MP Neil Gray both lashed out after reports suggested Mr Johnson was planning a flying visit north of the border to stress the importance of Scotland remaining a part of the United Kingdom. Mr Johnson will use his trip to defend the Union and stop the rise of support for Scottish independence.
Speaking at a vaccination site in north London yesterday, Mr Johnson said talk of a second independence referendum was inappropriate given the ongoing pandemic.
He added: “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.
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“So I think the strengths and advantages of the Union speak for themselves.”
Responding to Mr Johnson’s comments, Ms McKelvie tweeted: “Eh? Is he campaigning during the pandemic?
“Should he be travelling? Is this essential work?”
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An SNP spokesman also took a swipe at the Prime Minister, saying: “The Prime Minister is always welcome to visit Scotland.
“The law in Scotland requires all work that can be done at home, to be done at home and Scottish ministers are not engaging in visits in line with the current Stay at Home regulations and the requirement to stay local.
“So, it’s clear the PM must think the Union is really in peril if he considers his visit to be so essential.”
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Ms Sturgeon herself is also likely to raise the issue when she speaks at Holyrood this afternoon.
The First Minister is currently under pressure as a result of claims that she misled MSPs about when she first knew about sex abuse allegations against former leader Alex Salmond.
Nevertheless, she continues to press the issue of Scottish independence, and told the BBC’s Andrew Marr she plans to call an advisory referendum if the SNP wins the forthcoming Holyrood elections in May.
She said: “I want to have a legal referendum, that’s what I’m going to seek the authority of the Scottish people for in May and if they give me that authority that’s what I intend to do.
“Have a legal referendum to give people in Scotland the right to choose. That’s democracy.
“It’s not about what I want or about what Boris Johnson wants, it’s about what the people of Scotland want and the increasing evidence is that they want independence.”
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross swiftly hit back, saying he would refuse to campaign in what he called a “wildcat” referendum.
He explained: “I would absolutely boycott that.
“We were told the 2014 referendum was a gold standard of referendums, Nicola Sturgeon accepted that.”
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