A referendum on Scottish independence could still take place this year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Ms Sturgeon was interviewed in the Sunday Times Magazine, where she discussed sexism in politics, outlasting three prime ministers and her belief in Scottish self-determination.
The SNP leader remains adamant Scotland will choose to seek separation from Westminster and points to a number of polls showing support rising.
“Johnson is a democracy denier”
Ms Sturgeon said: “A referendum can absolutely happen this year…let’s see what happens over the next few weeks.
“(Boris Johnson) is a democracy denier. And while I can be impatient, I know that how he is behaving will ultimately drive people towards the independence cause. Boris Johnson is one of the biggest recruiting sergeants for independence there is at the moment.”
She added: “There was a recent story that he’s about to launch this £5m taxpayer-funded advertising blitz in Scotland, about the benefits of the union.
“He wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t know that, should support for independence keep rising, he can’t block the right of people in Scotland to choose.
“Somebody who thinks they can for ever block the choice being made wouldn’t be feeling the need to spend lots of money trying to persuade people of the choice they should make.
“So, for the independence movement, the challenge is clear: keep support rising.”
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “Nicola Sturgeon is in denial. “The people of Scotland don’t want a divisive second independence referendum this year.
“This is just yet another attempt by the First Minister to divert attention from her catastrophic failings in office, with hospitals in crisis, education standards plummeting, and transport projects in chaos. Scotland deserves better.
“Stripping public services of money for a legal battle over an unwanted and unofficial referendum on leaving the UK would be unforgivable. We are stronger together as part of the UK.”
Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden said: “Even as questions mount about the SNP’s fitness to govern, Nicola Sturgeon brings out the diversion signs.
“Scotland’s schools, health service, justice system, infrastructure, public services and economic growth have all deteriorated under 13 years of SNP government.
“If she wanted real change, Sturgeon could always fix the mess she has helped create.
“She talks about denying democracy, while denying the results of two referendums.
“Her words are a sop to the hardcore fringe elements of the SNP — the real democracy deniers.
“The majority of Scots voters can see through the SNP’s smoke and mirrors.”