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by Louise Wilson
18 March 2022
Boris Johnson: ‘This is not the moment’ for indyref2

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Boris Johnson: ‘This is not the moment’ for indyref2

The Prime Minister has insisted that now is not the time for another referendum on Scottish independence in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the recovery from the pandemic.

Addressing delegates in Aberdeen on the first day of the Scottish Conservatives’ two-day conference, Boris Johnson said it was “blindingly obvious” a vote should not take place.

He said: “This is not the moment to be having another referendum. It is not the time for yet more delectable disputations about the constitution when our European continent is being ravaged by the most vicious war since 1945; when public services and the economy need to recover from the pandemic.”

He accused Labour of being “lapdogs and enablers” of the SNP, adding: “Labour would rather work with the nationalists to bring down this government than work with us to stop the SNP from breaking up Britain.”

Johnson also criticised the SNP’s policy in Trident, saying that “getting rid of this country’s nuclear deterrent” would be wrong, particularly given Russian aggression.

And he suggested the nationalists’ policies on fossil fuels would expose the UK to “blackmail” by Putin, who he described as the “hydrocarbon drug pushing bully of the Kremlin”.

He said the UK Government was reducing reliance on Russian oil and gas by “doubling down” on the Scottish wind industry, as well as investing in tidal, solar, nuclear and hydrogen technology, while committing to continued “sensible use” of North Sea oil and gas.

Johnson said: “In this transition [to net zero], there will be a continuing and vital role, important role, for oil and gas, not least in producing hydrogen.

“That is why it makes sense for the government, our government, to continue to help that crucial industry in the north east of Scotland with the North Sea Transition Deal, with £26bn.”

The Prime Minister’s appearance at the conference followed a speech by a Ukrainian woman living in Edinburgh, Zhenya Dove.

She thanked the UK Government for supporting Ukrainian defence efforts and urged it to provide more help.

Ending an emotion speech, she said: “Don’t let them die… they are fighting for freedom and there is nothing better to be fighting for.”

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