Politics | UK polls spark Scottish debate, hurt Johnson’s opposition

The battle for the future of Scotland has begun after a dramatic set of British election results left the U.K. starkly divided.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party cemented its grip on Labour’s former heartlands in northern England, while in Scotland parties pushing to split away from the U.K. won a historic majority.
That threw Johnson and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon into what could be a vicious and lengthy showdown over whether a new referendum should be held Scottish independence.
Yesterday, Cabinet member Michael Gove repeatedly deflected questions about whether the U.K. government would block a second referendum if the Scottish government legislated for one, arguing the focus across the country should be on recovering from the pandemic. He also said not all SNP voters want the party to prioritize the push for independence.
“If we get sucked into a conversation about referenda and constitutions, then we are diverting attention from the issues that are most important to the people in Scotland and across the United Kingdom,” Gove told Sky News.
Responding to Gove’s words, Sturgeon told the BBC that while he first task is stearing Scotland through the pandemic, the SNP position on a referendum was clear to voters. She also said it would be “absurd” for the U.K. government to ignore the people’s wishes, and that she hopes it never ends up in court.
“All this talk about legality and whether or not the U.K. government challenges the Scottish government in court, misses a point: the people of Scotland have voted for the SNP on the strength of offering, when the time is right, an independence referendum,” she said. MDT/Bloomberg

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