SNP pressure has not changed PM’s stance on granting independence vote

The Prime Minister’s spokesman has said the UK Government’s position has not “changed one bit” on demands for a second Scottish independence referendum.

He was asked how Theresa May responded to SNP calls for the Scottish Government to be given powers to hold another independence vote if the UK leaves the EU.

The spokesman said: “I haven’t seen any formal request. I don’t think our position has changed one bit in relation to a second independence referendum.”

His comments come a day after SNP Westminster spokesman Ian Blackford said his party will put forward an amendment asking for the power to hold an independence referendum if the UK leaves the EU – recognising that Scotland voted 62% to 38% to remain in the EU.

Ian Blackford
Ian Blackford said Scotland has a mandate for a second independence referendum (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said: “Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we should not be dragged out of the EU against our will.

“With less than three weeks left until the UK is due to crash out of the EU, the sovereign right of the Scottish people to choose their own future must be respected.

“Scotland does not have to hit the Tory Brexit iceberg and go down with Theresa May’s sinking ship.

“If Westminster continues to ignore our wishes and act against our interests, Scotland can forge our own path as an independent European nation.

“The Scottish Government has a clear democratic mandate from the Scottish people, and the Scottish Parliament, to hold an independence referendum.

“With the majority of Scotland’s MPs also set to recognise that mandate, the Tories must not run scared of democracy.”

The amendment will be to the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Bill due to be debated at Westminster on Tuesday, and will also reject Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday said that the Prime Minister would “of course” refuse the Scottish Government permission to hold another independence referendum.

At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this month, Mrs May said the SNP “has no mandate from the Scottish people to continue to pursue independence”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she would not hold a referendum without Westminster’s permission.

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