LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday invited the leaders of the UK’s decentralized countries to crisis talks on the union after the Scottish Independence Party won its fourth consecutive parliamentary election.
Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, said the election results proved that a second vote for Scottish independence was’ the will of the country ‘and that any London politician who stood in the way’ would fight with it. democratic wishes. of the Scottish people.
The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with decentralized governments in the bottom three.
Johnson congratulated Sturgeon on his re-election, but told leaders of decentralized governments in a letter that the UK is “best served when we work together”. The letter invited leaders to a summit to discuss recovery plans from the coronavirus pandemic and determine how the four countries can work together to overcome “common challenges.”
The final results of Thursday’s local elections showed the SNP had won 64 of the 129 seats in the Edinburgh-based Scottish Parliament. Although it failed to secure an overall one-seat majority, the parliament still had a pro-independence majority with the help of eight Scottish Greens.
Sturgeon said his immediate priority would be to guide Scotland through the pandemic. But she said an independence referendum was “now a matter of fundamental democratic principle,” and did not rule out legislation paving the way for a vote early next year.
Johnson has ultimate power whether or not to allow another Scottish independence referendum. He wrote in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph that another referendum on Scotland would be “irresponsible and reckless” as Britain emerges from the pandemic. He has consistently maintained that the issue was settled in a 2014 referendum where 55% of Scottish voters were in favor of keeping the UK party.
But supporters of another vote say the situation has fundamentally changed due to the UK’s Brexit divorce from the European Union. They accuse Scotland of having been withdrawn from the EU against its will. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, 52% of UK voters supported leaving the EU, but 62% of Scots voted to stay.
Asked about the prospect of Johnson agreeing to a second Scottish referendum, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said on Sunday that “this is not a problem at the moment” and stressed that the national priority was to recover from the coronavirus pandemic .
Gove argued that the SNP’s inability to secure a majority in the Scottish Parliament was in stark contrast to the party’s heights of power in 2011, when it won a majority of 69 seats.
“This is not the case now – as we see – that the Scottish people are fighting for a referendum,” he told the BBC.
Scotland’s results were the focus of Thursday’s local elections across Britain. In Wales, the opposition Labor Party did better than expected, extending his 22 years as head of the Welsh government, despite losing a seat below the majority.
Labor support also continued in some large cities. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan won a second term. Other winning Labor candidates for mayor have included Steve Rotherham in the Liverpool city area, Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester and Dan Norris in the West of England area, which includes Bristol.