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SNP and Tories clash as Boris Johnson says no to second independence referendum

By Jonathan Clark

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LOCAL CONSERVATIVE and SNP politicians have clashed after Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected Nicola Sturgeon's call to hold another independence referendum.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected the SNP's call for another independence referendum. Picture: Eric Cormack
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected the SNP's call for another independence referendum. Picture: Eric Cormack

After the UK election in December, which saw the Tories claim 43.6 per cent of UK votes and the SNP take 45 per cent of votes in Scotland, the SNP pushed Westminister to give them the power to hold another referendum on independence.

But in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, PM Boris Johnson said his government will "continue to uphold the democratic decision" the Scottish people made in 2014's "once in a generation vote".

In 2014, Scotland voted by 55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent to remain part of the UK – but the SNP argue, with Brexit and three Conservative governments in a row UK-wide, circumstances have changed in the five year period since that vote.

Richard Lochhead, SNP MSP for Moray, replied to Mr Johnson's tweet saying: "Arrogant. Patronising. Disrespectful. Undemocratic. Utterly ignores the election results and reasons why people unhappy with the current situation. Thankfully, Scotland’s future will be decided by the people and not Boris Johnson."

Moray was one of six constituencies in Scotland to vote Conservative in December, with Douglas Ross winning out by one per cent over the SNP's Laura Mitchell.

And Mr Ross says the PM was right to turn down SNP plans for a second referendum, which Moray voted against by 57.6 per cent to 42.4 per cent five years ago.

He tweeted: "In 2014 the people of Moray and Scotland voted against SNP plans to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK. The Prime Minister is correct to turn down Nicola Sturgeon’s request for more referendums. The SNP will keep calling for them until they get a result they agree with."

And, while Mr Lochhead said Scotland will decide it's own future, Mr Ross added: "It’s also right that this remains an issue for the whole of the a UK because it would affect the whole of the country if Scotland were separated from the rest of the UK."

Mr Ross' election rival, Laura Mitchell, who saw the SNP vote in Moray increase by 5.5 per cent in the UK election, said: "Boris Johnson is the best recruitment tool the independence campaign has. He was rejected by the people of Scotland, and the more he says no, the more support for independence will grow."

Jamie Halcro-Johnston, Tory MSP for the Highlands and Islands, backed up Mr Ross, adding: "I support Boris Johnson’s rejection of Nicola Sturgeon’s plans, and the SNP’s endless agitating on independence, which, as the Prime Minister rightly highlighted, have caused political stagnation in Scotland.

"The vast majority of people across the Highlands and Islands are much more interested in having a debate about the real issues which impact their lives and on how we improve our communities."

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