SNP Tommy Sheppard issues Boris Johnson an ultimatum in Scottish independence row

Tories should help to organise Scottish referendum says SNP MP

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Nicola Sturgeon insisted she has an “unarguable mandate” to hold a second vote on Scottish independence, as she launched a fierce attack on the UK Prime Minister. The Scottish First Minister and SNP leader criticised Boris Johnson and his Conservative government for its stance on immigration, over Brexit, and on plans to hike National Insurance and cut Universal Credit payments. Tommy Sheppard added that it is the democratic right of Scotland to hold a second vote following the elections in May.

Speaking to LBC, Mr Sheppard said: “It doesn’t really matter if you think circumstances have changed fundamentally or enough.

“It doesn’t matter if you think enough time has passed.

“The thing that top trumps all of that is what do the people in Scotland actually think and what have they voted for.

“They have just voted to have another say on this matter and they elected to Scottish Parliament on that basis.

“I think that mandate should be respected.

“I think the best thing for the Conservative Government is to work with the Scottish Government to organise that referendum in the way it was done in 2014.

“I hope they will do that but if they don’t, there will be a referendum.

“We have a mandate to deliver on a referendum and if democracy means anything then that has to happen and then it will be for the UK government to decide whether it respects that or not.”

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The SNP won its fourth consecutive term in power at Holyrood in May’s Scottish elections, and Ms Sturgeon insisted that that victory “represents an unarguable mandate to implement the manifesto we put before the country”.

This included plans for another independence ballot, with Ms Sturgeon telling supporters the time to make a decision on Scotland’s future was “approaching”.

While the Prime Minister has so far rejected all calls for another vote, Ms Sturgeon said hoped the two governments could reach an agreement, as happened in 2014, “to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected”.

But she insisted: “This much is clear. Democracy must and democracy will prevail.”

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Ms Sturgeon was clear she wants there to be “a legal referendum within this term of Parliament, Covid permitting, by the end of 2023”.

Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, she said: “The crisis is not yet over, but we will get through it.

“And then it will be the time to think not of the past but of Scotland’s future.

“To decide who should be in charge of that future.”

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