Boris Johnson says Scottish independence referendum was 'once-in-a-generation' vote

George Martin
·2 min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, following the tightening of England's Covid-19 tiers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference in 10 Downing Street. (PA)

Boris Johnson has said that the 2014 Scottish independence referendum should be a "once-in-a-generation" vote.

The prime minister appeared to rule out holding another referendum in the near future by comparing the Scottish poll to the Brexit referendum.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Johnson said that the gap between referendums on Europe, the first in 1975 and the second in 2016, was "a good sort of gap".

Johnson was asked by the host whether "things had changed" for Scottish voters in the wake of Britain’s departure from the EU.

Watch: Protesters lament 'shocking' Brexit deal in Scotland

He replied: "Referendums in my experience, direct experience, in this country are not particularly jolly events.

"They don't have a notably unifying force in the national mood, they should be only once in a generation."

Asked what the difference was between a referendum on EU membership being granted and one on Scottish independence being requested, he said: "The difference is we had a referendum in 1975 and we then had another one in 2016.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon says Brexit is ‘forcing Scotland in wrong direction’

"That seems to be about the right sort of gap."

It comes after a recent poll showed support surging for a second independence referendum, with 58% of the Scottis electorate saying they would now vote “Yes” for independence.

The 2014 referendum resulted in a 55.3% vote against Scotland going alone.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gives a COVID-19 update in the Scottish Parliament at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hopes Scotland can rejoin the EU as an independent nation. (PA)

On Hogmanay, Nicola Sturgeon said Europe should "keep a light on" as Scotland will be "back soon".

The First Minister tweeted just after the Brexit transition period formally ended at 11pm on December 31.

“More and more people in Scotland believe our aspirations can best be met by continuing to contribute to the shared endeavour and solidarity that the EU represents,” she wrote.

“Because of Brexit, we can now only do this as an independent member state in our own right.

“We didn’t want to leave and we hope to join you again soon as an equal partner,” she added.

Scotland's trading and travel relationships with EU countries will now be governed by the agreement announced by the UK Government on Christmas Eve.

“We are now faced with a hard Brexit against our will, at the worst possible time in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession,” Sturgeon said on Saturday.

“For too long, successive UK governments have taken Scotland in the wrong direction, culminating in Brexit.

“It’s no wonder so many people in Scotland have had enough,” she added.

Watch: Sturgeon says EU should "keep a light on" for Scotland to rejoin