Ever since the UK withdrawal from the EU, calls for independence have peaked in Scotland, with Scottish people and officials calling for secession from the UK to rejoin the EU. Johnson’s deputy recently said in a statement that London would not block a referendum on Scottish independence if the people of the region so wished. The Johnson government seems to have come to the conclusion that it cannot prevent Scotland’s independence from the UK, and intended to leave it to the Scots to decide.
Gove Backs Scottish Independence Vote if there is a “Settled Will”
In an interview, Cabinet Office Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said that while now was not the right moment to put the question of independence forward, he argued that under the “right circumstances” the Westminster government would not prevent the Scottish public from expressing their thoughts on the matter. “The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there”, he told the paper. “I just don’t think that it is right, and the public don’t think it is right, to ask that question at the moment. If it is the case that there is clearly a settled will in favour of a referendum, then one will occur.”
The UK Government Wants the Independence Referendum to be Held at a More Appropriate Time
Despite the positive signal that the UK government has agreed to hold an independence referendum in Scotland, the Cabinet Office Minister stressed that now is not the right time to hold a referendum in Scotland. He reassured that Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, also knew that people expected the government to focus on the Covid-19 crisis. Scotland has announced plans to lift all restrictions over the next few days. As of August 9, almost all English-style restrictions in the region have been lifted.
Slight Decline in the Scots’ Desire for Independence
In order to hold a referendum in Scotland, London must submit a resolution to the regional parliament called “Section 30”. The remarks by the British Cabinet came at a time when support for Scottish independence has waned slightly. Last year, polls continued to indicate for six months that most Scots would like to live in an independent country, with 58% calling for independence from the UK, but turning the game recently with 52% agreeing to stay in.
The SNP Is Seeking an Independence Referendum Soon
Prior to the regional election, Nicola Sturgeon said that if her party won the election, it would hold a Scottish independence referendum before 2024. She also warned that the central government in London had no right to oppose the democratic choice of the people of the region.
Nicola Sturgeon said after her recent victory in the Scottish elections that she was excited about the results and called it a historic achievement. Sturgeon warned that anyone blocking the Scottish referendum would go against the democratic will of the people of the region. The leader of the Scottish National Party stated “There is no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future.” She continued by saying that the exact time of the referendum would be determined by the Scottish Parliament, adding that Boris Johnson or Westminster politicians had no right to decide.
The London Government Opposes Ongoing Calls for Scottish Independence Referendum
The first Scottish independence referendum was held on 18 September 2014, in which 55% voted to stay in the UK and 45% to leave. The London government has repeatedly opposed the holding of a Scottish independence referendum. Rejecting Nicola Sturgeon’s request two years ago, Johnson noted that local officials called the 2014 referendum a “once in a generation” and that people had voted to preserve the unity of the UK. However, Nicola Sturgeon and the supporters of a re-referendum on Scotland’s right to self-determination believe that the British vote to leave the EU has changed the situation and that the region wants to remain in the EU. Polls suggest that at least 55% of Scots want to secede from the UK.
Thus, holding a referendum has become a red line for Boris Johnson’s government. The UK prime minister continues to claim that, given the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, no other referendum should be held in this regard. But Scottish officials believe that with the formal UK withdrawal from the EU, its European existence has changed to an independent entity. In such circumstances, it is the right of the people of Scotland to choose between Europe and a non-European UK, regardless of the referendum held in 2014.
The UK completely withdrew from the EU at the start of 2021. This provoked the reaction of Northern Ireland and Scotland, who opposed UK’s secession from the EU from the beginning, increasing their desire for independence.
Polls show that the Scottish people’s tendency to secede from the UK and rejoin the EU is growing day by day, although the Scots had previously opposed secession from the UK. Scotland’s first referendum on independence was held in 2014 and 55% of those polled voted to stay in the UK. But now the Scots say the situation has changed because the UK has left the EU. The government’s move has dealt a severe blow to the Scottish economy and jobs. In the opinion of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, there is no better deal than the benefits of staying in the EU.