Boris Johnson rejects Nicola Sturgeon independence referendum request
Boris Johnson has written to Nicola Sturgeon to deny Scotland a second independence referendum in the midst of his leadership crisis.
More than 30 MPs have quit their government positions since last night in protest at Johnson's continued premiership.
But a letter dated July 6 has now been received by the First Minister, with Johnson telling her that he "cannot agree that now is the time to return" to the independence question.
Sharing the letter on Twitter, Sturgeon questioned whether it would be "one of his last acts as PM", adding: "To be clear, Scotland will have the opportunity to choose independence - I hope in a referendum on 19 October 2023 but, if not, through a general election. Scottish democracy will not be a prisoner of this or any PM."
The letter was sent in response to one from Sturgeon seeking a Section 30 order, and states: "I have carefully considered the arguments you set out for a transfer of power from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament to hold another referendum on independence. As our country faces unprecedented challenges at home and abroad, I cannot agree that now is the time to return to a question which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014."
Citing the war in Ukraine as amongst those challenges, Johnson went on to say that the public "rightly expect the UK and Scottish governments to work collaboratively in their best interests - and that that is what we are doing".
He said: "On all fronts, we stand to achieve so much more for the people we serve by continuing to work together as partners."
Commenting on the letter, Scottish Labour constitution spokesperson Sarah Boyack said: "The people of Scotland are being failed by an SNP government at Holyrood that is obsessed with separation and an imploding and corrupt Tory government at Westminster.
"Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon are two sides of the same coin.Neither the Tories nor the SNP are focused on tackling the cost of living crisis or rebuilding our services from the pandemic, and both are damaging the future of devolution."