Prime Minister Sturgeon accuses British Prime Minister Johnson, who opposes a new referendum, of fear of democracy.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would pursue plans to hold a “legal” referendum on independence from Britain if her party won a majority in the polls later this year, despite opposition from London.
Scotland voted 55% to 45% independence in a 2014 referendum. But a majority of Scots also supported staying in the European Union in the subsequent Brexit vote in 2016, boosting Scottish nationalists’ demands for a new vote for independence after the UK as a whole voted to leave the bloc.
Sturgeon said on Sunday she would look for a new referendum whether his Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a strong performance in the Scottish parliamentary elections in May – even though UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said such a vote should only take place once per generation.
“I want a legal referendum, that’s why I’m going to ask for the authority of the Scottish people in May and if they give me that authority, that’s what I intend to do,” a- she told BBC television.
“He’s scared of democracy,” Sturgeon said, referring to Johnson.
“If the SNP wins the Scottish elections in a few months on the offer to give this choice to the people, which Democrat could rightly oppose it?” she said, adding that “polls now show that a majority of people in Scotland want independence“.
‘Johnson to deny the request’
Johnson says the SNP framed the 2014 referendum as a “once in a generation” event and can no longer insist on another.
The prime minister “will categorically refuse the request,” The Sunday Times reported, citing leading government sources.
A Sunday Times poll found that 50% of Scottish voters wanted another referendum in the next five years and 49% would vote for independence, while 44% would reject it.
Sturgeon’s party said EU membership was presented in 2014 as a key argument for Scotland to stay in the UK, only for the Scots to be dragged out of the bloc against their will.
The Sunday Times cited a forecast that the SNP would gain a “landslide” in the May polls, giving Sturgeon a solid basis to call for a vote.
She spoke as the SNP was due to discuss its “road map to a referendum” at a political forum on Sunday.
The SNP says it will ask the UK government for an order under Article 30 allowing another referendum to be held.
If denied, he intends to pass his own legislation to prepare for a referendum and “vigorously” oppose a London court challenge.