Boris Johnson could grant permission for a second Scottish independence referendum if 60 per cent of Scots want one, says Cabinet minister
- Boris Johnson has repeatedly dismissed calls for second vote on independence
- But Scottish Secretary has said vote could happen if 60 per cent of Scots want it
- Alister Jack said such support would have to be seen over a sustained period
- Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold referendum during current Scottish parliament
Boris Johnson could grant permission for a second Scottish independence referendum if 60 per cent of Scots want one, a Cabinet minister has suggested.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has floated 60 per cent support as the potential threshold for the UK Government giving the green light to a re-run of the 2014 vote.
However, he insisted that such a level of support would have to be ‘sustained over a reasonably long period’ in polling and stressed he does not believe the backing is there currently.
SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants a second independence referendum to take place during the early part of the new Holyrood parliament.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has floated 60 per cent support as the potential threshold for the UK Government giving the green light to a re-run of the 2014 vote
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly dismissed calls for a second vote on splitting up the UK
Mr Johnson has repeatedly dismissed the SNP’s calls, arguing the first vote was supposed to be a once in a generation event.
Michael Gove, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, suggested earlier this year that the PM could eventually soften his stance on holding a ballot.
He hinted Westminster would not stand in the way of a referendum if wanting to hold one was clearly the ‘settled will’ of voters.
Asked what he believed could constitute the ‘settled will’, Mr Jack told Politico: ‘If you consistently saw 60 percent of the population wanting a referendum — not wanting independence but wanting a referendum — and that was sustained over a reasonably long period, then I would acknowledge that there was a desire for a referendum.’
However, he stressed ‘that’s not where we are and it’s not how I perceive things to be’.
Mr Jack said he believed he has the same view as the public which is that ‘now is not the time to be having a referendum’.
Mr Johnson’s most recent rejection of holding a second referendum came earlier this month when he said another vote is ‘not top of my agenda’.
The PM made clear during a visit to Scotland that he had no desire to give the green light to major constitutional upheaval.
He said his priority was for the whole of the UK to continue ‘bouncing back together’ from the coronavirus crisis.
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