Speaking at Edinburgh International Book Festival event, Ex-Prime Minister David Cameron’s former Constitution Director, Ciaran Martin, has warned that continuing to block another vote indefinitely would mean the union “will have changed profoundly” from one of consent to one of enforcement.
According to Mr Martin, the UK is currently “heading for a stalemate” on the constitutional question as the Tory Government plans to refuse the Scottish Government’s request to hold a second independence referendum.
He warned the UK Government against the practice of acknowledging Scotland’s right to self-determination in theory, whilst simultaneously blocking any move towards it in practice and said:
“My hunch, and it is just a hunch, is that there’s a realisation in London that ultimately the fate of the union will have to be tested again, not in the court of law but in the court of public opinion at some point.”
This comes briefly after Michael Gove MP, the most senior member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet - whose portfolio includes constitutional matters - admitted to the Sunday Mail that the UK Government would not block a vote forever, saying:
“If it is the case that there is clearly a settled will in favour of a referendum, then one will occur.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“While it is important that we obtain a Section 30 order and hold a referendum that can’t be legally contested, the UK Government cannot get away with simply refusing to consent.
“With a Holyrood 2021 manifesto that made it clear an independence referendum would be pursued within this term, the SNP won a record number of constituencies - 62 out of 73 - and by far the largest share of the popular vote.
“The First Minister has always rightly said that leading Scotland out of COVID was her most immediate priority. Nevertheless, the mandate is there and the UK Government must respect the choice made by the people of Scotland to hold this referendum during this “2021-2026 Scottish Parliament.”