The Scottish National Party (SNP) will next week unveil a “detailed democratic case for the transfer of power” that may enable a second Scottish independence referendum to take place in the near future, the leader of the party Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday (13 December).
Her comments came following a substantial win for the SNP in their home country, winning 48 of the 59 seats available. The Conservative and Labour parties both lost seven and six seats respectively.
“This stunning election win last night for the SNP renews, reinforces and strengthens the mandate we have from previous elections to offer the people of Scotland a choice over their future,” Sturgeon said on Friday.
“That mandate says it is for the Scottish Parliament – not a Westminster government – to decide whether and when there should be a new referendum on independence.”
Sturgeon added that she does not pretend every SNP voter supports the notion of a second referendum on Scottish independence, but that the Conservatives “bombarded” the people of Scotland “day after day and night after night,” saying that a vote for their party was a vote against an independent Scotland.
The SNP leader had told EURACTIV earlier this year that the “prospect of Boris Johnson or any of these hardline Brexiteers being prime minister, will undoubtedly further illustrate the divergent paths politically that Scotland and the rest of the UK are on.”
Lib Dem losses
In one of the surprise events of the evening, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson lost her seat in Scotland’s East Dunbartonshire by a meagre 149 votes, a result which prompted an exalted reaction on Thursday evening from an on-air Nicola Sturgeon who said she couldn’t help but be delighted by her party’s performance.
“Some will be celebrating the wave of nationalism that is sweeping on both sides of the borders,” Swinson said, following the loss of her seat, she added however that “these results will bring dread and dismay”.
Swinson’s loss was symptomatic of the wider Liberal Democrat demise, as a series of high profile candidates from the party lost out, with Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston and Luciana Berger among some of the former MPs who are now out of a job.
As for Labour, following their losses in Scotland, they are now left with just one MP in the country, with Ian Murray holding onto Edinburgh South with a substantial 11,095 majority.
Murray had long criticized his party leader’s stance on key issues, and warned that Corbyn should transform Labour for the better, or face the ramifications at the ballot boxes. In Brussels, Labour MEP Seb Dance said the United Kingdom was on “life support” following the gains made by the SNP in Scotland.
More broadly, the onus now appears to be on Boris Johnson to respond to a renewed interest in Scottish voters to consider another independence referendum.
The UK’s new prime minister will refuse any attempts by Sturgeon to request that he grant Scotland the legal power to hold an independence vote, but will face rising calls from the SNP to permit them the right to hold another vote, following their substantial gains on Thursday.
Sturgeon has been unambiguous in stating that having Boris Johnson in Number 10 is not the outcome that a Scotland dominated by SNP representatives desire. “In an independent Scotland, we will always get the governments we vote for,” she said. “The people of Scotland have spoken – it is time to decide our own future.”
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]