Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Boris Johnson again vows to block a second Scottish independence referendum

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during the debate on the Internal Market Bill in the House of Commons, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 14, 2020. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Boris Johnson has again ruled out granting the legal powers for a second independence referendum as he claimed the Westminster government’s response to the pandemic had proved the value of the Union.

The prime minister said that only six years had passed since the last vote on Scotland’s future, and insisted that timescale did not match the “once in a generation” promise made to Scots during the campaign in 2014.

The Conservative leader also dodged questions on his own unpopularity north of the border and its effect on growing levels of support for independence.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons in London.

Mr Johnson was speaking to Andrew Marr on the BBC after Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross issued a warning to his colleagues about their attitude to the Union.

Mr Ross, the Moray MP, told the party’s conference that it must end the “defeatism and disinterest” when it comes to Scotland’s future.

Mr Johnson was asked if he had been among the people Mr Ross was highlighting.

“I think he was talking about those who don’t value the Union in the way that I do. I think the Union is one of the great achievements of this country,” the Tory leader said.

“And by the way, I think its value, its use, has been amply demonstrated during this crisis, and not just in the way the armed services have helped deliver tests around the country, but the way the financial support for the whole UK has been delivered by HMT, by the Treasury.”

We had a referendum in 2014, we were told it was a once in a generation event, by the leaders of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and six years, it doesn’t seem to me, is a generation.”

Mr Marr quizzed the prime minister on what his response would be to an SNP majority emerging from next year’s Holyrood election, on a manifesto commitment to hold a second independence referendum.

“I don’t think this is the time quite frankly for us to have another referendum,” he said.

“We had a referendum in 2014, we were told it was a once in a generation event, by the leaders of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and six years, it doesn’t seem to me, is a generation.”

Mr Johnson also denied that his government’s handling of Brexit was fuelling a rise in support for independence.

He said: “I think actually that Brexit is a huge opportunity for Scotland.

“And the Bill that we’re just getting through the House of Commons, the Internal Market Bill, will involve the devolution of substantial powers to Scotland and elsewhere, and not least over fish.

“And just to get back to this fish point, it seems incredible to me that the Scottish Nationalist Party should actually be supporting a policy of literally handing back control of Scottish fisheries to Brussels, abandoning the future prospects of young people growing up in Scotland who have a great future in that industry.”

Mr Ross was earlier interviewed by Sophy Ridge on Sky News, and was asked whether Mr Johnson was the man to save the Union.

“Yes, the prime minister is a strong supporter of the United Kingdom, of the Union,” he said.

“He believes that the four nations of the United Kingdom can do far more together than they can do separately on their own.

“But I think the prime minister would also accept that his government and successive governments, have not done enough to strengthen the case for the Union, and that is why I made my speech yesterday, to put down this marker, to make sure everyone reflects on what they have done, and what they can do, to strengthen our four nations of the United Kingdom.”

Mr Ross added: “Approval ratings go up and down, and the future of our country, a 300-year economic and political partnership, that has served Scotland and the UK well, doesn’t rest on if one individual is popular or not.

“This is about what our country means and what we can do together, united, as one nation, working together.”

On his conference speech, Mr Ross said: “This was a wake-up call to the party.

“This was to remind everyone that we are Conservative and Unionist and the defeatism and disinterest that I hear, too often, sadly, from colleagues, from members of the party south of the border, is not helping our fight up here.”

Ian Murray MP

Labour MP Ian Murray, also speaking on Sky News on Sunday, defended Labour’s position on the Union and seized on the remarks made by Mr Ross.

“The Labour Party couldn’t be clearer. In fact the reason that we’re in some of the difficulties in terms of electoral difficulties in Scotland is because we are clear on this principled position – we’re against independence and against a second independence referendum,” he said.

“I really do think that this couldn’t be clearer. And if you look at Douglas Ross, in terms of the new Scottish Conservative leader, he has said quite clearly that many in his own party don’t believe in the Union.

“And really the biggest threat to the United Kingdom at the moment, even more than any Nationalist in fact, is the Conservative and Unionist Party, and the way they are dealing with Brexit, the way they are dealing with Covid, and the way the Scottish people see this current prime minister.”



Already a subscriber? Sign in