Update: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised that the Scottish people “will get the right to decide our own future” after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to allow Scotland to hold a second referendum on independence.
The British Prime Minister has officially rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a second independence referendum, arguing she should respect her promise the 2014 vote was a “once in a generation event”, according to a report on The Telegraph.
The report says that in the brief, six-paragraph response, the Prime Minister said he would “continue to uphold the democratic decision” of the Scottish people to remain in the UK, arguing that he cannot agree to a transfer of power leading to further independence referendums after Ms Sturgeon asked for this responsibility to be permanently devolved.
Such a decision, would have allowed the Scottish Parliament to stage separation votes whenever it wants, allowing the First Minister to stage a third referendum if she lost again.
He added that the Scottish Prime Minister should focus on improving Scotland’s troubled public services, saying Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs have been left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK.
He concluded: “It is time that we all worked to bring the whole of the United Kingdom together and unleash the potential of this great country.”
The letter was sent as Ms Sturgeon was convening her weekly meeting of the Scottish Cabinet. She issued her request for another vote just before Christmas.
She said the UK Government has a “democratic duty” to hand her the powers for another vote on breaking up Britain after the SNP won 48 out of 59 Scottish seats in last week’s general election.
Although she said she expected this to be rejected, she argued this could not be sustained and challenged the UK Government to explain how this would tally with Scotland being in a voluntary Union.
But she repeatedly refused to rule out a third vote if she lost, or to repeat the promise she made before the 2014 referendum that it would settle the matter for a generation or a lifetime.
Mr Johnson tweeted: “Today I have written to Nicola Sturgeon. The Scottish people voted decisively to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect.
“Let’s make 2020 a year of growth and opportunity for the whole of the UK.”