Boris Johnson has rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s call for Holyrood to be given the power to hold a fresh vote on independence.
In a letter to the First Minister, the Prime Minister claimed that giving the Scottish Parliament the ability to hold Indyref2 would go against the “democratic decision of the Scottish people”.
Writing to the SNP leader, Mr Johnson said: “I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.”
Mr Johnson said he had “carefully considered” the case she had made for powers to be transferred to Holyrood that would allow it to hold a vote on Scotland’s future.
The Tory leader shared his letter to Mrs Sturgeon on Twitter.
Today I have written to Nicola Sturgeon. The Scottish people voted decisively to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect.
Let's make 2020 a year of growth and opportunity for the whole of the UK 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/JjQp3X2J2n
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 14, 2020
He said both she and her predecessor Alex Salmond had made a “personal promise” that the referendum in 2014 was a “once in generation” event.
The Prime Minister said: “The UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people and the promise that you made to them.
“For that reason I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.”
Using Twitter, Nicola Sturgeon replied: “Tories are terrified of Scotland’s right to choose – because they know that when given the choice we’ll choose independence.
“Tories have no positive case for the union – so all they can do is attempt to deny democracy. It will not stand.
“The problem for the Tories is the longer they try to block democracy, the more they show the Westminster union is not one of equals and fuel support for independence.
“This response (is) predictable – but also unsustainable and self defeating. Scotland will have the right to choose.
“@scotgov [the Scottish Government] will set out our response and next steps before the end of this month – when we will also again ask @ScotParl [the Scottish Parliament] to back Scotland’s right to choose our own future.”
1/ Tories are terrified of Scotland’s right to choose – because they know that when given the choice we’ll choose independence. Tories have no positive case for the union – so all they can do is attempt to deny democracy. It will not stand. https://t.co/ILpW8Sx4kv
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 14, 2020
Boris Johnson: Letter in full
Thank you for your correspondence of 19 December 2019.
I have carefully considered and noted the arguments set out for a transfer of power from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament to allow for further independence referendums.
You and your predecessor made a personal promise that the 2014 Independence Referendum was a “once in a generation” vote. The people of Scotland voted decisively on that promise to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect in the Edinburgh Agreement.
The UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people and the promise that you made them. For that reason, I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.
Another independence referendum would continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade, with Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs again left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK.
It is time that we all worked to bring the whole of the United Kingdom together and unleash the potential of this great country.
Nicola Sturgeon: Full response
“The Tories are terrified of Scotland having the right to choose our own future. They know that given the choice the overwhelming likelihood is that people will choose the positive option of independence. The Tories – and their allies in the leaderships of Labour and the Lib Dems – lack any positive case for the Union, so all they can do is try to block democracy. It shows utter contempt for the votes, views and interests of the people of Scotland and it is a strategy that is doomed to failure.
“While today’s response is not surprising- indeed we anticipated it – it will not stand. It is not politically sustainable for any Westminster government to stand in the way of the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future and to seek to block the clear democratic mandate for an independence referendum.
“The problem for the UK government is that the longer they try to block a referendum, the more they demonstrate that the Westminster union is not a partnership of equals and the more support for independence will grow. It will also mean for the Tories that the loss of half of their seats suffered at the recent general election – fought by them on the sole issue of opposition to an independence referendum – will be only the start of their road back to political oblivion in Scotland.
“In short, as well as being unsustainable, the position set out today by the UK government is also an entirely self-defeating one.
“The Scottish Government will set out our response and next steps later this month when we will also ask the Scottish Parliament to again endorse Scotland’s right to choose.
“One thing, though, is clear – the people of Scotland will get the right to decide our own future in an independence referendum. The Westminster union cannot be sustained without consent. Democracy will prevail. The only question is how long it will take the Tories and the rest of the Westminster establishment to accept that inevitability.”
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 14, 2020