Scotland: Second referendum would be ‘illegal’ says Ross
Andrew Bowie, the vice-chair of the Conservative Party, has attacked the SNP Leader’s push for a second Scottish independence poll, telling Times Radio listeners that a second referendum would be “illegal.” In a blow to Nicola Sturgeon’s independence hopes, Mr Bowie stated that constitutionally the Westminster Government holds the power to call a second referendum regardless of whether the SNP return with a majority in the elections to Holyrood in May. He added that any attempts to hold a second referendum would simply be a “distraction.”
Speaking with Mr Bowie on his Times Radio programme on Thursday host John Pienar said: “We are heading to the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May unless it slips to maybe later, maybe June or so
“The SNP are odds on to do incredibly well in that election and if and when that happens they are going to take that as a mandate for independence.
“They won’t have Westminister permission and Westminister has the clear legal say under the constitutional settlement
“But it looks like they will have their referendum none the less.”
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Mr Pienar pressed the Conservative MP on whether the UK Government would challenge any attempt to force through a second vote by the SNP.
In response, Mr Bowie said: “It is quite clear that the power to hold the referendum lies with the Westminster government.
“I really do not think this is the time as we are fighting coronavirus as we are looking towards the economic recovery as we are looking to build this country back from what has been an incredibly dark year for so many people.
“That we should enter into another divisive referendum on a constitutional issue with all upheaval that would bring for lives and livelihoods.”
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He continued: “What we need to do know is, working together, get this country back on track.
“To open up the economy when we can and to beat coronavirus jab by jab
“That is what we are focused on right now and I think frankly it is what the SNP should be focussing on as well.”
Ms Sturgeon has threatened to hold an advisory referendum over Scottish independence if her party wins in May’s Holyrood elections.
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Scotland previously held an independence vote in 2014.
The referendum saw 55 percent of Scotland reject leaving the UK.
But Ms Sturgeon has been pushing for another independence vote since the UK left the European Union.
She has now set out an 11-point roadmap for a second independence vote, just six years after the “once in a generation” referendum in 2014.
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