News ID: 264359
Published: 0638 GMT January 14, 2020

Johnson refuses to issue section 30 order

Johnson refuses to issue section 30 order

As expected, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has formally rejected a request by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, for a fresh Scottish independence referendum.

In a letter published today, Johnson grounds his refusal on the supposedly original understanding that the September 2014 independence referendum was a “once in a generation vote”.

Johnson also makes the bold and unsubstantiated claim that an independence referendum “would continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade”, Presstv Reported.

Most experts on Scottish affairs are likely to disagree with that assessment, for if anything the domination of the Scottish political landscape by the Scottish National Party (SNP) – which is also led by Sturgeon – has made Scottish politics the most interesting in the British Isles.

Sturgeon wrote to Johnson a week after the general election on December 12, requesting that the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood be invested with the power to hold a legally-binding referendum.

The request came after the SNP, which forms the Scottish government, won a decisive victory in the general election, taking 48 of the 59 seats allocated to Scotland in the House of Commons.

In order for a transfer of powers from the House of Commons to Holyrood to take place, the UK government must grant what is called a section 30 order, which Johnson refused to do today.

Sturgeon's response

Sturgeon tweeted her response to Johnson’s letter, the highlight of which was her assertion that the “Tories are terrified of Scotland having the right to choose our own future”.

“The problem for the UK government is that the longer they try to block a referendum, the more they demonstrate that the Westminster union is not a partnership of equals and the more support for independence will grow”, Sturgeon adds.

In the light of Johnson’s refusal to issue a section 30 order, Sturgeon’s plan to hold a referendum in the second half of 2020 now looks decidedly out of reach.

This is likely to increase pressure on Sturgeon to adopt a more confrontational approach toward the government in London.

In the event of Sturgeon losing the political initiative to Johnson, analysts expect more radical Scottish nationalists (many of whom are not affiliated to the SNP) to eclipse Sturgeon and the SNP.

 
   
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