In full: Boris Johnson makes farewell speech at Number 10
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence in October 2023 – a move that has been strongly resisted by Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party Government. The two leaders have constantly been at loggerheads over the past three years, with the SNP leader claiming Mr Johnson has brought “chaos” to the UK during his time as Prime Minister.
This morning during his farewell speech, Mr Johnson took a thinly-veiled swipe at Ms Sturgeon, saying “those who want to break it (the union) up, they’ll keep trying, but they will never, ever succeed”.
But the First Minister has hit back with a furious attack of her own against the departing Prime Minister.
Responding to the earlier comments, she told Radio Clyde: “I obviously wish him and his family well, but there is no getting away from the fact that Boris Johnson has been the worst Prime Minister certainly in my lifetime.
“He has discredited his office. He has delivered chaos to the governance of the UK and he has failed to use the enormous powers and responsibilities and resources that he has at his disposal to make life better for the people.
“He seems to have been more interested in serving himself than the people of the UK so I’m not sure there are going to be many people in Scotland who are sorry to see Boris Johnson depart as prime minister.”
Ms Sturgeon has detailed plans to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence on October 19, 2023 – which would come nearly nine years after the first failed vote to split Scotland from the rest of the UK.
The SNP/Green Government has asked the Supreme Court to rule if it can bypass Westminster to hold a legal vote.
The UK Government is refusing to grant permission for a new referendum to take place, with new Prime Minister Liz Truss also making clear her objections to it in her leadership campaign.
Speaking earlier on the steps of 10 Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “We are one whole entire United Kingdom whose diplomats, security services and armed forces are so globally admired.
“As I leave, I believe our union is so strong that those who want to break it up, they’ll keep trying, but they will never, ever succeed.”
Ms Sturgeon has said Scottish ministers are currently focused on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing next month, where it will be decided if an independence vote can be held without permission from the UK Government.If judges rule against her plan, she said she will treat the next general election as a “de facto referendum”.
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During an interview with the BBC this morning, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was also asked whether he would treat a snap election as a de facto referendum.
He replied: “First and foremost we’ve got the hearing in front of the Supreme Court that’s to take place in October, I cannot see that we’re going to have an election before that anyway so let’s wait and see what happens.
“If we win that case at the Supreme Court then that means that we have a referendum in October 2023 and that’s what we should be focused on.
“Of course if we can’t, for whatever reason, achieve that then having that de facto decision taken by the people in a general election becomes the default position.”
He also called for a general election to take place following the election of Ms Truss as Conservative Party leader.
During an interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he was asked whether he would like to see a general election “sooner rather than later”.
Mr Blackford replied: “Very much so and for the very simple reason that what Liz Truss now seems to be proposing was not in the Tory manifesto in the 2019 election.
“First and foremost, let’s put the support in place that families, that businesses, need.
“Let’s get that done and the right thing to do is then to put this to the people, to have that general election and let the people in Scotland express their opinion, and I think crucially their opinion as to whether or not Scotland should be an independent country.”
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