- Queen to set out Boris’s agenda
- Sturgeon asks Boris to accept Scottish independence vote
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to “focus on reality” and recognize that the Scottish National Party (SNP) has been given a mandate for a second independence referendum, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
The SNP won 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats in the UK parliament in Thursday’s national election, prompting Sturgeon to step up her demands for another independence referendum.
However, Johnson, boosted by his own Conservative Party winning an 80 seat parliamentary majority in the election, told Sturgeon by phone on Friday that he opposed another independence vote.
“I was firm with him that I have a mandate to offer people a choice. He reiterated his opposition to that,” Sturgeon told Skynews after visiting supporters in Dundee on Saturday.
“But you know, let’s focus on reality here – the election this week was a watershed moment for Scotland,” she said.
Scots voted in an independence referendum in 2014 to remain in the United Kingdom, but they also voted in the 2016 Brexit referendum to stay in the European Union, while a majority of English and Welsh voters supported leaving the bloc.
Since then Sturgeon has argued that Scotland deserves another vote on becoming an independent nation because it is being taken out of the EU against its will.
Sturgeon said on Friday her semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh would next week publish a detailed case for a transfer of power from London that would allow her to hold a second independence referendum.
“Scotland very clearly wants a different future to the one that’s been chosen by much of the rest of the UK, and Scotland wants to have the right to choose its own future,” she said.
Agencies add: Queen Elizabeth will set out on Thursday Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s legislative agenda following his election victory, including a pledge to bring the EU Withdrawal Agreement bill back to parliament before Christmas, his office said.
Johnson led his Conservative Party on Thursday to their biggest national election win since Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory of 1987, trouncing his socialist Labour Party opponent Jeremy Corbyn by winning 365 parliamentary seats and securing an overall majority of 80. Johnson fought the election on the slogan “Get Brexit done”.
The so-called Queen’s Speech is used to detail all the bills the government plans to enact over the coming year. It is written by the government and is delivered by the monarch from a throne in parliament’s gilded House of Lords debating chamber.
Thursday’s speech to parliament will be the 93-year-old queen’s second in as many months. She made one on Oct. 14, shortly before the election was called following a prolonged deadlock in parliament over the government’s Brexit plans. The October speech laid out 22 new bills – pieces of proposed legislation – including several covering tougher treatment for foreign criminals and sex offenders, and new protection for victims of domestic abuse.
Johnson’s office said Thursday’s speech was expected to provide continuity with what the queen outlined in October, with some additions to strengthen the justice system and enshrine in law a multi-year funding settlement for Britain’s state-funded National Health Service.
The new government’s top priority, however, will be to finally secure parliamentary approval for the bill to take Britain out of the European Union. Johnson said on Friday Britain would leave the EU on Jan. 31, “no ifs, no buts, no maybes”.