Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

UK on brink: Boris Johnson urged to stop ‘forgetting’ Scotland to save the union

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Boris Johnson has witnessed support for independence in Scotland increase since taking over the leadership of the United Kingdom last summer. A new survey this week showed 58 percent of respondents are now in favour of quitting the UK, the highest since the first referendum was held in 2014. Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross told the Prime Minister now is the time to stop being “complacent” if he wants to save the union.

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Ross said: “Successive governments at UK level have devolved and forgotten.

“And this defeatism and disinterest that has creeped into the narrative about the future of Scotland’s place in the union only plays to the SNP.”

The Ipsos Mori survey conducted between October 2 and October 9 questioned 1,045 Scots across the nation, and found only 42 percent of respondents are now in favour of saving the UK.

Prof Jane Green from the British Election Study suggested the results of the poll should serve as a “wake-up call” for Boris Johnson and his Government.

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Prof Green said: “If the referendum were held today, I think this would very much be a referendum about Scottish independence, Scottish identity, all those things that Scots held so dear to them in 2014.

“But also it’s about what’s happening now. We, of course, have the pandemic.

“The same poll showed Boris Johnson’s ratings were very low in Scotland.

“That’s a real wake-up call for the Conservative party at this time.”

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Questioned about the results of the poll, Nicola Sturgeon did not hide her satisfaction at the outcome but insisted her focus remains on battling the coronavirus.

Speaking during her daily COVID-19 update, Ms Sturgeon said: “I am a politician and nobody would believe me if I said I didn’t pay any attention to opinion polls.

“But right now, I’d trade away approval ratings to get rid of Covid.”

Despite her commitment to containing the virus, the SNP leader already confirmed her party will run on a manifesto of independence at next year’s Scottish election.

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The First Minister already challenged Boris Johnson to agreeing to a new referendum after the SNP secured a majority of Scotland’s parliamentary seats in December’s general election.

But Mr Johnson rejected the request as he reiterated he remains committed to preserving the United Kingdom.

The managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, Emily Gray, said the results made “grim reading for unionists”.

Ms Gray said: “Our latest poll will put a spring in the step of nationalists but makes grim reading for unionists.

“The Scottish public have shifted even further towards supporting an independent Scotland, with record numbers now saying they would vote Yes.”

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