SNP slammed for 'nationalist brainwashing' by McCrae
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Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014, by 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent.
However, nationalists are demanding a second referendum, in their bid to break up the UK.
Currently, the British Government is opposed, with Boris Johnson arguing the SNP should focus on Scotland’s coronavirus recovery.
However speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Gove, the Cabinet Office Minister, opened the door to a second referendum.
He said: “The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there.
“I just don’t think that it is right, and the public doesn’t think it is right, to ask that question at the moment.
“If it is the case that there is clearly a settled will in favour of a referendum, then one will occur.”
Mr Gove didn’t specify how the “settled will” of the Scottish people would be defined.
Recent polls have shown a decline in support for leaving the UK, after a surge last year.
A Panelbase survey of 1,287 Scottish residents, published in June, found only 48 percent want independence once the undecideds are excluded.
Mr Gove, who was born in Aberdeen, has previously said a referendum is unlikely before the next general election, due in 2024.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph in June, he commented: “I think it’s foolish to talk about a referendum now – we’re recovering from Covid.
“It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.”
The SNP fell one seat short of a majority at May’s Scottish Parliament elections.
However, there is still a pro-separation majority at Holyrood, thanks to Green Party support.
Ian Blackford MP, the SNP’s Westminster chief, argued this shows another referendum is the “settled will” of the Scottish public.
He said: “It should not be news that the Tories are finally waking up to the fact that the people of Scotland have expressed their democratic wishes in an election that they want their future to be put into their hands.
“The fundamental point Michael Gove missed is that the people of Scotland have spoken and expressed their settled will that they want to hold a referendum when they elected a majority of independence-supporting MSPs to the Scottish Parliament just over two months ago.
“If Boris Johnson continues to ignore the mandate given by the people of Scotland to hold a referendum then he will continue to tell the people of Scotland that their opinion does not matter.”
Unionists point out more Scots voted for pro-UK parties than nationalists in the Holyrood constituency poll.
They also note senior SNP figures pledged the 2014 referendum would be a “once in a generation” occurrence, before it was held.
The SNP has come under sharp criticism after newly released figures showed there were 1,339 drug misuse deaths in Scotland last year.
This figure, nearly three-and-a-half times the English and Welsh figure, has been rising for the past seven years.
Scotland’s annual number of drug misuse deaths is now nearly three times what it was a decade ago.
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