PM won’t grant Scottish referendum before next election, says Gove

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PM won't grant Scottish referendum before next election, says Gove
PM won't grant Scottish referendum before next election, says Gove

Boris Johnson will not grant a second Scottish independence referendum before the next General Election in 2024, according to Michael Gove.

Gove said today that there were no circumstances in which the Prime Minister would allow a vote to happen, putting him on a collision course with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon has vowed to call an unsanctioned wild cat referendum if the government does not allow a second vote to go ahead.

This would plunge the UK into an unprecedented constitutional crisis and likely spark a series of law suits.

Sturgeon believes there is now a mandate for a second vote due to the combined factors of Brexit, which Scotland did not vote for, and the fact that the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) and Green Party won a combined majority in this year’s Holyrood election.

When asked by the Telegraph whether there were any circumstances in which a new referendum would be granted before the next election, Gove said: “I don’t think so. I can’t see it.”

“The Prime Minister is completely focused on making sure that, for the lifetime of this parliament, we increase economic opportunity, we provide people with the chance to make more of their lives, take control of their futures.

“And that’s quite rightly what the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom’s focus should be.”

He added: “It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.”

Sturgeon has said her immediate focus is the Covid recovery, but that before the end of the current Westminster parliamentary term she will push for a second referendum.

She has set mid-2023 as a rough target date.

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