Great Britain

Johnson won’t grant Scottish independence referendum before next election, says Gove

Senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said he "can't see" Boris Johnson granting a new referendum on Scottish independence before the next general election.

Mr Gove - who is responsible for countering the push for independence - said the Prime Minister's focus was completely focused on recovery from the pandemic "for the lifetime of this parliament".

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the next general election is not due until May 2024 - although Mr Johnson is committed to repealing the act which could allow him to go to the country before then.

Asked in an interview with The Daily Telegraph whether there was "any circumstance" in which Mr Johnson would approve a referendum before a May 2024 election, Mr Gove said: "I don't think so."

Asked whether his position was that "there will be no referendum before the 2024 election", he replied: "I can't see it."

After pro-independence parties won a majority in the elections to the Scottish Parliament in May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "a matter of when, not if" there would be a second referendum.

Mr Gove's intervention may heighten the chances that the SNP could try to hold a unilateral referendum without the approval of Westminster, which would almost certainly result in a legal battle through the courts.

Mr Gove however insisted that it was "foolish" to talk about a referendum at a time when the country was still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Prime Minister is completely focused on making sure that, for the lifetime of this parliament, we increase economic opportunity, we provide people with the chance to make more of their lives, take control of their futures. And that's quite rightly what the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom's focus should be," he said.

"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."

Football news:

Rooney rolled under the 20-year-old Derby midfielder in training and injured him. He may miss 3 months
Manchester United believe that Pogba is unlikely to extend his contract. Therefore, they are ready to let him go to PSG
Ramos will miss the French Super Cup due to a muscle injury to his leg
Roberto Carlos on Messi: He really needed the America's Cup - a title, a trophy. I am happy for my friend and colleague
Former Man City and Monaco striker Jovetic has moved to Hertha
Allegri on Real Madrid's Interest: I thank Perez, but I chose Juve because of my love for the club
Koeman likes Bayern defender Hernandez. Barcelona considers the transfer impossible