Another Scottish independence referendum is the “will of the country”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted, despite her SNP failing to win an overall majority at Holyrood.
The SNP won a total of 64 seats in the Scottish Parliament – one more than in 2016, but one short of the total needed for a majority.
But with the Scottish Greens having their best ever Holyrood performance, returning eight MSPs, the Parliament now has 72 MSPs who support a second independence vote.
However former first minister Alex Salmond’s Alba Party – which had been campaigning for an independence “supermajority” – failed to get any MSPs elected.
Speaking on Saturday, the First Minister said her first focus would be on the coronavirus pandemic, but that the people of Scotland should be able to decide on the constitutional question “when the time is right”.
An independence referendum was pledged in the manifesto of both the SNP and the Scottish Greens, and Ms Sturgeon declared: “It is a commitment made to the people by a majority of the MSPs have been elected to our national parliament.
“It is the will of the country.
“Given that outcome, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future.
Given the outcome of this election, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future
If the request is rejected, Ms Sturgeon said, “it will demonstrate conclusively that the UK is not a partnership of equals and that – astonishingly – Westminster no longer sees the UK as a voluntary union of nations”.
She added: “That in itself would be a very powerful argument for independence.”