Scotland: SNP compared to an 'irrational cult' by Carlaw
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Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014 by 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent. However the SNP is pushing for a second referendum, and hopes to get this through the Scottish parliament with Green Party support.
Asked by the Daily Telegraph whether there will be another referendum before the next general election Mr Gove replied: “I can’t see it.”
He added: “I think it’s foolish to talk about a referendum now – we’re recovering from Covid.
“It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.”
However the remark infuriated Ms Sturgeon, who said it will boost support for Scotland leaving the union.
She commented: “Every time we hear that kind of sneering, arrogant condescension from Michael Gove – or whatever UK Government minister it may be – completely refusing to accept Scottish democracy, actually the more they just build support for independence.
“If we can’t even have a UK Government that respects the choices we make democratically which, in an election just a matter of weeks ago, was an overwhelming victory for the SNP on the manifesto commitment to have the choice of independence.
“If that can’t even be respected, then the idea that the UK is a partnership of equals just completely disintegrates.”
Mr Gove, who was born in Aberdeen, is a fervent supporter of Scotland remaining part of Britain.
He leads a cabinet committee, formed to coordinate Government policy towards the union.
The SNP fell one seat short of a majority in May’s Scottish parliament elections.
In the constituency poll unionist parties combined received more votes than their nationalist rivals.
As a result, many unionists argue the SNP don’t have a mandate for another referendum.
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If Scotland leaves the UK, and re-joins the EU, it could result in a hard-border with England.
Scotland would also have to commit to adopt the Euro as its currency, and to join the borderless Schengen Zone.
Some SNP politicians have suggested a second referendum could be held even without the UK Government’s consent.
Should this happen Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader, is urging unionists to boycott the poll.
Spanish unionists boycotted a Catalan independence referendum in 2017.
The organisers of this vote were either arrested or forced to flee the country, though several were pardoned earlier this month.
During his interview with the Telegraph Mr Gove insisted the prime minister is popular in Scotland.
He commented: “I think there’s a myth that has been built up, fed by Scottish nationalists, that somehow the Prime Minister doesn’t go down well in Scotland.
“In my experience I’ve seen folk in Orkney, folk in Aberdeenshire, responding as warmly to the Prime Minister as people in Oxfordshire or Hartlepool.
“I think it’s an SNP mind game, as it were, to try to suggest that somehow the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom shouldn’t set foot in part of the United Kingdom.”
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