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Ian Blackford insists the Scottish Government will decide IndyRef2 timing

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

Ian Blackford has insisted that the Scottish Government would decide the timing of a second independence referendum and not Westminster.

The SNP Westminster leader told Conservative ministers it was time they “recognised democracy” and the result of the Holyrood election last month.

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP was reacting to remarks made by Michael Gove, the Cabinet Officer minister, who said on Monday that there would not be a another referendum “any time soon”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Mr Blackford said: “I think at the end of the day it’s about time that Michael Gove and Boris Johnson recognised democracy.

“We’ve just had an election in Scotland, where the SNP won that election, where there is a pro-independence majority in the parliament.

“People in Scotland have elected MSPs with a very clear mandate to deliver an independence referendum.”

Michael Gove.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously challenged the UK Government to try to legally prevent her party from progressing legislation for a referendum, which she has said the SNP would pursue even if the UK Government continued to refuse to grant Holyrood the legal powers for a vote, in the same way as in 2014.

Asked about timing for such a vote, Mr Blackford said: “We will deal with the issue of the pandemic. When we’ve got through that the Scottish Government will determine the timing for a referendum.

“Westminster needs to recognise it’s the right of the people in Scotland to determine their future, not Michael Gove, not Boris Johnson.”

On Monday, Mr Gove said his priority was “making sure that we work together, Scottish Government, UK Government and other devolved administrations to deal with the recovery”.

He added: “We’re not going to have a referendum anytime soon.”

Asked if the UK Government would consider granting Scottish ex-pats a vote in another poll, he said it was not his job to speculate about “the whys and wherefores of a referendum”.


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