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by Louise Wilson
08 July 2022
Independence campaign must change strategy post-Boris Johnson, says Alex Salmond

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Independence campaign must change strategy post-Boris Johnson, says Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond has warned that the SNP's case for independence may significantly weaken with the removal of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Writing exclusively for Holyrood, the former first minister called on pro-independence campaigners to capitalise on Johnson remaining in office until the autumn.

He said Johnson being a "lame duck" PM meant influence and authority did not sit with him, and therefore independence supporters must "use it before we lose it".

He wrote: "Johnson’s determination to hang on to his free tenancy in Downing Street for the next three months or so is a godsend for campaigning purposes and for Scotland. 

"But to be effective, people have to feel the outrage and have it illustrated by popular demonstration and parliamentary intervention."

Johnson confirmed yesterday that he would stand down as Prime Minister when the next leader of the Conservative party is elected.

That is currently expected to be in late September or early October.

It followed a gruelling few days in which Johnson suffered multiple ministerial and Cabinet resignations.

Salmond also criticised his former party for being "painfully slow in refurbishing the independence case to meet the hard realities of 2022". 

And he said the plan to hold a de facto referendum via the next general election was setting the bar too high.

He added: "If it is indeed to be votes, then the bar for success has just been raised to an extraordinarily high level. No single political party has managed this since the Second World War."

The "tougher economic times" and questions over the Scottish Government’s competence would make the argument more difficult than it was in 2014, he said, adding that Johnson's tenure as PM had "mitigated" some of these "shortcomings" but "with Johnson gone this can’t be guarantee".

The First Minister last month announced her government's plan to hold a second independence referendum on 19 October 2023.

The question of whether Holyrood can legislate for the vote without a Section 30 order from the UK government has been taken to the Supreme Court.

The Prime Minister this week wrote to Nicola Sturgeon confirming his government would not provide a Section 30.

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