Liz Truss became new the UK Prime Minister after formally meeting the Queen at Balmoral. In a
break from recent conventions, she travelled to Balmoral in Aberdeenshire for a meeting with
the monarch. This means Scotland plays an important role right at the outset of the Truss
premiership. The prospects of a second referendum on Scottish independence will be one of
the most pressing issues in her in-tray. The UK Supreme Court will hear the legal case in
October on whether the Scottish Government can hold a referendum without consent from
Westminster (STV). Liz Truss has her unilateral and irresponsible right-wing policies. She has
already shown her obvious hostility to Sturgeon and these factors can intensify the motivation
of the Scottish people for independence.
Truss Saying No to Second Referendum on Scottish Independence
According to the BBC, Ms Truss described Ms Sturgeon as an attention seeker who was best
ignored. Conservative members in Exeter applauded Ms Truss when she used this description
for Ms Sturgeon. Ms Truss has since clarified that it is the demand for another independence
referendum that she intends to ignore. She has also called for constructive relations with the
devolved government. But that does not necessarily include an early summit with the first
minister. At this stage, the talk is of a visit to Scotland that bypasses Bute House to show
commitment to Scotland and its place in the union without giving a high-profile photocall to
the first minister.
If Truss governs as she campaigned, it seems she could take a harder line against another
referendum than her predecessor. Boris Johnson used “now is not the time” type language to
express his opposition. When asked about her approach to indyref2, Ms Truss simply said
“no, no, and no” in the same way STV also refers to Truss’s position on Scottish independence.
At the hustings, Truss said she would “not allow” another vote on independence if
elected prime minister. She said what Sturgeon should do is deal with real issues in
Scotland, rather than agitate for another referendum.
Truss to Rewrite Rules of Scottish Independence
As reported by the Independent, the Scottish National Party (SNP) is determined to stage a
Second referendum on the subject in 2023. Ms Truss has already made clear her opposition to
- The last independence vote was on 18 September 2014, with a 55.3% victory for the “no”
campaign. But the UK Supreme Court will hear the legal case in October.
The court will determine whether a second referendcum can be held without the consent of
The Truss administration could legislate to make it more difficult for a “yes” vote to pass.
The legislation could require 50.1% of the entire electorate to back such a move rather than
a majority percentage of the turnout on the day in question.
According to the Herald, such legislation would mean that more than half of the entire Scottish
electorate would need to vote to leave the union before Scotland could become independent.
Ms Sturgeon told Sophy Ridge “it is not a sign of strength to talk about blocking a referendum …
it is a sign of fundamental weakness” as she underlined her opposition to the move.
Truss Ignoring Sturgeon Over Scottish Independence
According to the Guardian, the SNP says that Liz Truss’s dismissal of “attention-seeking
Sturgeon” will horrify the Scots. Liz Truss has called Nicola Sturgeon an “attention-seeker”
who ought to be ignored. Truss made the remark during Conservative leadership hustings in
Exeter. John Swinney says Truss’s offensive remarks would absolutely horrify Scottish voters.
John Swinney is the deputy first minister and Sturgeon’s closest political ally. As the BBC
reported, John Swinney has called Truss’s comments “completely and utterly
Sturgeon Responds to Truss’s Win
According to the National, Sturgeon responded to Truss’s win in a diplomatic fashion as she
vowed to “build a good working relationship” with the future prime minister.
“Congratulations to Liz Truss,” the first minister tweeted. “Our political differences are
deep. But I will seek to build a good working relationship with her as I did with last three PMs.
“She must now freeze energy bills for people and businesses, deliver more cash support, and
increase funding for public services.”
Later, Sturgeon took a more political tone towards the incoming PM with a swipe at the result
of the race. “We will see what the outcome of that is” she said. “But one thing is clear, and
it’s a democratic principle here. The future of Scotland will be decided by the people of
Scotland. It will not be decided by Truss, any more than it would have been decided by
Johnson before her.”
The SNP is Against Truss’s Policies
As reported by the Scotsman, Liz Truss has outlined three early priorities, which she has
promised to pursue as prime minister: tax cuts and reforms, dealing with soaring
energy bills and securing energy supplies, and putting the NHS “on a firm footing”.
According to the BBC, the constitution will be the most obvious source of tension between the
UK and Scottish governments. Moreover, Truss has plans to “maximise” North Sea oil and
gas production. These plans are at odds with Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for strict new climate
compatibility tests on all new extractions. Sturgeon says Truss’s plans to reduce taxes are
beneficial to some Conservatives rather than the whole of UK. Cuts in income tax could widen
the gap between what is paid north of the border and elsewhere in the UK.
As it says in the National, Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster chief, echoes Sturgeon’s
cost-of-living message. Blackford suggests that Truss is shaping up to be “even worse than
Boris Johnson. Liz Truss must now get on with it – there is no more time to waste”, he
says. He adds that Tories are continuing to impose damaging policies like hard Brexit.
He says that Brexit has raised the cost of living in Britain. According to Sky News, Sturgeon
has said “it is obviously the case that Liz Truss and I don’t agree on very much politically.”
Sturgeon accused her of focusing on the “niche priorities” of Tory members, such as tax cuts.
It goes without saying that independence supporters regard Liz Truss’s position as
anti-democratic and disrespectful. Nicola Sturgeon says Truss’s position is
“desperate.” There are certainly dangers for unionists in adopting a more “muscular”
approach.” Truss’s approach could alienate moderate opinion in Scotland and boost support for
independence (BBC). Blackford also took aim at Truss’s mandate in Scotland. Blackford said
Truss” cannot deny the democratic decision of the people of Scotland to hold an
independence referendum;” Blackford added “by denying democracy, the Westminster parties
will only further increase support for independence (the National). Clearly, Liz Truss’s right-
wing policies and her hostility to Sturgeon can intensify the impetus of the Scottish people
for Scottish independence.