Not now Nicola! Boris sends message to Sturgeon over need to ‘resist nationalism’
Sturgeon discusses future of country at the Scottish Parliament
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Mr Johnson called for an end to a disunited approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and said countries should resist nationalism to protect the world from similar threats in the future. And he drew a parallel between the disease and the plague at the start of Homer’s epic poem The Iliad.
In his speech to the G20 health summit, Mr Johnson said: “Almost 2,800 years later, the world has been just as disunited I’m afraid as Achilles and Agamemnon.
“And I think now is the time to come together and to defeat the pandemic and to prevent another.
“Now is the time to move away from the temptations of competing nationalism and instead reassert the power, the duty, the necessity for nations to act together, building collective defence against the common enemy of disease.”
Mr Johnson did not name either Scotland or Ms Sturgeon in the course of his speech.
However, his words appear to be part of a strategy intended to contrast his Government’s focus on the coronavirus recovery with the SNP’s ongoing push for a so-called IndyRef2.
Speaking after the Holyrood elections of May 6, Mr Johnson, who believes the question was settled by the 2014 referendum which saw Scots vote by 55 percent to 45 percent against independence, told the Telegraph: “I think that count is still taking place and we’ll have to see what happens. I listened to the Scottish election carefully.
“My impression was that the SNP moved away from the idea of a referendum, and I think very wisely.
“Because I don’t think this is anything like the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to be talking about ripping our country apart, when actually people want to heal our economy and bounce forward together. That’s what people want.”
With specific reference to the possibility of a vote in the near future, he added: “I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless. Let me leave it at that.”
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Speaking to Mr Johnson by phone after the election, Mrs Sturgeon told Mr Johnson another referendum on independence was inevitable after her party won a resounding election victory, despite falling one short of an overall majority.
In a statement issued afterwards, Ms Sturgeon’s official spokesman said: “The First Minister reiterated her intention to ensure that the people of Scotland can choose our own future when the crisis is over,.
“She made clear that the question of a referendum is now a matter of when – not if.”
She subsequently told told the BBC it would be “absurd and completely outrageous” for the British government to take legal action to stop a referendum.
The Scottish First Minister argued that for London to use “force of law” to prevent a vote would amount to saying that the 300-year-old union between England and Scotland was no longer based on consent, adding: “I don’t think we will get there.”
Under the 1998 Scotland Act – which created the Scottish parliament and devolved some powers to Edinburgh from London – all matters relating to the “Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” are reserved to the UK parliament.
Under the act, the UK parliament can grant the Scottish government the authority to hold a referendum, a process that was used to allow the 2014 plebiscite to go ahead and which Sturgeon said should unfold again for a new referendum.
Despite narrowly missing out on a majority in Holyrood, pro-independence parties nevertheless dominate the Scottish Parliament.
The Greens, like the SNP, back Scotland breaking away from the UK.
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