Fri. May 27th, 2022


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Bad news, Nicola! Ian Blackford ‘enjoys being in Wesminster so much’ to push for indyref2

3 min read

IndyRef2: Michael Gove discusses Scottish voters

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Michael Gove has insisted a second referendum on Scottish independence will not be held before 2024. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has claimed his “good friend” Ian Blackford would not want a referendum anytime soon because he “enjoys being in Westminster”. While Nicola Sturgeon has been campaigning for Scotland to leave the UK and rejoin the EU since the Brexit vote in 2016.

Speaking to The Telegraph’s political editor Ben Riley-Smith, Mr Gove said: “Ian’s a lovely chap and a good friend.

“Ian enjoys being in Westminster so much, I suspect that he probably wouldn’t want a referendum any time soon either.

“He’s a lovely part of the Westminster furniture but more broadly no, you know Boris is completely focused.

“The Prime Minister is completely focused on making sure that for the lifetime of this parliament we increase economic opportunity.

“We provide people with the chance to make more of their lives, to take control of their futures and that’s quite rightly what the Prime Minister of the UK’s focus should be.

“I think it’s foolish to talk about a referendum now. We are still dealing with the health challenges that the Covid crisis has generated and it seems to me to be at best reckless to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together.”

After pro-independence parties won a majority in the elections to the Scottish Parliament in May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “a matter of when, not if” there would be a second referendum.

Giving Scots living elsewhere in the UK the ability to vote in a future independence referendum would “rig the rules”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

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The SNP leader responded to a report that senior Conservatives wanted to grant eligibility to Scots who are based elsewhere in the UK to bolster the unionist case.

The Times reported an unnamed cabinet minister saying the voting franchise should be expanded ahead of the expected referendum demand from the First Minister.

The source also said former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson should be brought back into front-line politics to make the case for the Union.

In the 2014 referendum, eligibility to vote was based on residence within Scotland.


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Responding to the report, Ms Sturgeon tweeted on Monday: “I see the anti-independence campaign is trying to rig the rules of #indyref2 again (though in doing so they also concede that it’s going to happen).

“Maybe they should just argue their case on its merits and allow everyone who lives in Scotland to decide.”

About 800,000 people who were born in Scotland are thought to live in England, while more than 50,000 live elsewhere in the UK.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “The sole priority of the UK Government is on continuing to roll out the UK’s life-saving vaccine programme and recovering from this health and economic emergency.

“It is our duty and our responsibility to focus entirely on Covid recovery. That is what people in Scotland, rightly, expect.”

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