First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ramped up her campaign for a second vote on Scottish independence – more than six years after Scots voted by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent against splitting from the Union. The Prime Minister has continued to reject the increasing calls and is refusing to grant the Holyrood Parliament in Scotland the Section 30 power needed to stage another referendum in the country. Mr Johnson has argued the result from the first referendum in 2014 must be honoured and is a once in a generation event.
But Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest-serving member in Westminster, said Scotland could pile the pressure on Downing Street into granting a new independence vote by making the consequences of denying one increasingly difficult.
Writing in his blog, the SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire warned: “MPs should continue to serve our constituents and speak out in Parliament but it would not be business as usual. In the Scottish Parliament, legislative consent could be increasingly withdrawn.
“The Scottish Parliament could also start to legislate on issues at the edge of the devolved powers challenging the UK Government to strike Scottish democracy down again.
“We could then start to grind them down with successive constitutional disputes.”
The SNP currently holds 61 of the 129 seats currently available in Holyrood, with the Scottish Conservatives a long way back on just 30 seats.
Mr Wishart believes if the SNP triumph in the Scottish elections next May, then Mr Johnson and his Government would agree to an early ballot on Scottish independence.
But the longstanding member in Westminster warned Scotland could “start to put in place” its own referendum if Downing Street continues to deny Holyrood the powers for an agreed one.
He stopped short of saying Scotland should make such a move but said: “The UK will agree to a referendum if we win in May.
“This, combined with a majority in favour of independence means the only chance the Tories have of saving their Union will be to agree to an early contest.
“They know that to continue to say ‘No’ they will only drive support for independence even higher.”
Mr Wishart added: “We can allow them (UK Government) to draw up any agenda they want (as long as a referendum is on it) and we say to them we are prepared to meet any day, anytime, anywhere.
“We have to demonstrate to the international community and the EU that we have done everything possible to get them to the table. At the same time, if a ‘No’ persists we should be starting to think about withdrawing from the structures of the UK state.
“All of this will be the UK’s choice. What we must not be drawn into is precipitative action that would put us on the wrong side of the international community.
“There will be strong lobbying from some within the movement to embark upon actions that would lead to that situation, just as there will be provocation from the UK to divide us and try and force us down a route unpalatable to the international community and the Scottish people. Patience but determination will be required.
“I sincerely believe that the UK will not want any of this just as much as no one in our movement wants it either.
“That is why I come back to where I started – the UK will agree to a referendum if we win in May. They will have looked at the consequences of saying ‘No’ just as we have.
“They will not like the look of it at all, but it will be all down to them. Whatever they choose – we win, because we must.”