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Sturgeon sets course for showdown with Johnson

Nicola Sturgeon calls for the right to choose

UPDATE MAY 9: Nicola Sturgeon hailed the return of an SNP government at Holyrood by preparing the country for a showdown with Westminster.

Ms Sturgeon, party leader and First Minister, warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to stand in the way of a new Scottish independence referendum to “give people in Scotland the right to choose their future”.

On Sunday said she would join other devolved government leaders at a Team UK summit called by the Prime Minister.

Business leaders immediately warned that she will “not be forgiven” if she prioritises splitting the UK.

The SNP was elected for a fourth term having won 64 seats, just one short of an overall majority.

Ms Sturgeon used her victory speech to repeat calls for another referendum.

“Usually – and by the normal standards of democracy – parties are expected to deliver on the commitments they make in elections, not face attempts to block them from doing so,’ she said.

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“Given the outcome of this election, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future.

“If there is such an attempt it will demonstrate conclusively that the UK is not a partnership of equals and that Westminster no longer sees the UK as a voluntary union of nations.

‘That in itself would be a very powerful argument for Scotland becoming an independent country.”

Downing Street has insisted it would resist any attempt by the SNP to unilaterally try to hold a referendum. Mr Johnson refused to support what he called the “irresponsible” move that could break up the union.

On Sunday Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove indicated the UK Government would not seek to block a second Scottish independence referendum in the courts.

Judge David Hope, the former deputy president of the Supreme Court, has recently warned that the SNP could struggle to win a court battle. He said: “The SNP are trapped within a statue that is very carefully drafted.”  

Anti-independence group Scottish Business UK, led by care homes entrepreneur Robert Kilgour, warned that the First Minister “will not be forgiven by the business community if, after failing to get the endorsement she asked for, she prioritises a divisive referendum over saving lives and economic recovery from the pandemic.”

With just the Lothian list to call the Scottish Conservatives were heading for 31 seats (no change); Scottish Labour 22 (-2); Scottish Greens 8 (+2) and Scottish Lib Dems 4 (-1) The 66% turnout was the highest since the parliament was established in 1999.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Against the odds and against most of the polls, the Scottish Conservatives have won 31 seats, more votes than ever before and our highest ever vote share.

“While other pro-UK parties lost seats, the Scottish Conservatives fought the SNP hard all over Scotland and took them on. We have cemented our position as Scotland’s biggest opposition party. 

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“Predictably, Nicola Sturgeon is already stoking division. Within hours, she has broken her word to voters and is already demanding another referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “We’re on a journey to build a credible alternative to the SNP.

“Not just oppose the SNP, but to build a credible alternative. And that job doesn’t stop with this election campaign.

“I think even my harshest critics would accept we have run an energetic and enthusiastic campaign, we got Labour back on the pitch. 

“That is something for us to build on for the next five years. We are significantly ahead of where we were just ten weeks ago

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrats’ MP for Orkney and Shetland since 2001, said the predicted outcome for Willie Rennie’s Scottish party – which would see them drop from five seats to four in Holyrood – was a “disappointing result, there is no getting away from that”.

Permjit Gosal [aka Pam Gosal] made history as the first ever Scottish Sikh to be elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2021 Holyrood election. Winning as a candidate for the Scottish Conservatives, Pam Gosal was elected on the regional list election for the West of Scotland region.

Smaller parties, including former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s Alba and George Galloway’s All for Unity, secured no seats.

Mr Salmond, the former first minister and SNP leader, said he will continue as Alba party leader.

In a statement he said the 32 Alba candidates had been “injecting urgency” into the need to deliver independence and that it intended to stay on the political scene. It plans to hold a conference in June and contest local elections in Scotland next year.



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