Great Britain

Westminster and Holyrood see battle lines drawn over indyref2

The Prime Minister marked the triumphant return of MPs to the Commons by rebuffing the SNP’s demands for a second vote on the country’s constitutional future. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, the First Minister urged political parties in Scotland to unite behind having another vote on the issue. At Westminster, Mr Johnson said: “It’s my belief most honourable members in this House believe we should resist the calls of those who would break up the United Kingdom.

“That resulted in the establishment of this Parliament. It has achieved much.

“But a new, Brexit-focused Tory Government presents risks that few would have predicted at the dawn of devolution.

“So I hope in the coming days and weeks we will see a similar coming together around the idea of Scotland’s right to choose a ­better future.”

In response to the First Minister’s speech, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack confirmed that the UK Government will not sanction “another unwanted referendum on separation”.

At Holyrood, Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw said the election had ­confirmed “beyond doubt” that the whole of the UK will be leaving the EU at the end of next month.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for Holyrood to act as a “campaign of resistance” to protect Scotland from Mr Johnson’s Government.

“And as the Parliament of the United Kingdom, we should politely and respectfully defend that partnership and that Union.”

He also promised to “find a new and generous spirit in which we conduct all our political dealings with one another that will last beyond this immediate season of Christmas goodwill”.

Such Christmas goodwill was in short supply at the Scottish Parliament, however, where Ms Sturgeon warned about the “risks” of a “Brexit-focused Tory Government”.

She said: “There is a growing, cross-party recognition that ­election mandates should be ­honoured, that there has been a material change of circumstances and that the question of independence must be decided by the people and not by politicians.

“Given the nature of what we are facing in terms of UK governance, this is now a matter of some urgency – which is why this Government wants people to have a choice next year.”

Later this week, she will unveil her masterplan for powers to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament to hold another referendum.

In recent days, some key figures in Scottish Labour have also said another vote should be allowed to take place – although the party insists it will not change its pro-UK stance. Citing a similar movement in Scotland before devolution, she added: “Back in the early 1990s, when Scotland was also facing the prospect of a fourth Tory Government with no mandate here, there was a coming together of political parties, communities and civic Scotland.