Nicola Sturgeon has insisted “democracy must and will prevail” as she confirmed she has now written to Boris Johnson formally requesting the power for Holyrood to hold a second independence referendum.
The SNP leader and Scottish first minister said that following last week’s election victory in which her party took 47 of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster, the case for another referendum is “unarguable”.
Speaking at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said: “The alternative is a future that we have rejected being imposed upon us.
“Scotland made it very clear last week it does not want a Tory Government led by Boris Johnson taking us out of the European Union.
“That is the future we face if we do not have the opportunity to consider the alternative of independence.”
The prime minister has repeatedly made clear his opposition to a second independence referendum.
While the SNP last week secured its second best result in any Westminster election, the Conservatives, whose campaign had focused on opposition to an independence referendum, saw their share of the vote slip in Scotland, losing more than half their seats.
In the wake of that, Sturgeon said she was “publishing the constitutional and democratic case” for a referendum.
She said: “It is a fundamental democratic principle that decisions on Scotland’s constitutional future should rest with the people who live here.
“As this document lays out, the Scottish government has a clear democratic mandate to offer people a choice on that future in an independence referendum, and the UK government has a democratic duty to recognise that. Last week’s general election has only strengthened that mandate.
“We are therefore today calling for the UK government to negotiate and agree the transfer of power that would put beyond doubt the Scottish parliament’s right to legislate for a referendum on independence.
“Together with the constitutional and democratic case for that transfer of power, we are also publishing the draft legislation that would give effect to it.”
Sturgeon said the question had often been posed to her “what will you do if the prime minister says no?”
She said: “The document we are publishing today turns the question on its head.
“It is for the prime minister to defend why he believes the UK is not a voluntary union of equal nations.
“It is for him to set out why he does not believe people in Scotland have the right to self-determination.
“And it is for the prime minister to explain why he believes it is acceptable to ignore election after election in Scotland and to override a democratic mandate stronger than the one he claims for his Brexit deal.
“We live in a democracy, and ultimately democracy must and will prevail.”
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