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EU argument could back Sturgeon’s wavering independence bid as Johnson given warning

Nicola Sturgeon: SNP facing ‘biggest row’ in Scottish politics

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Prime Minister Johnson will struggle to “credibly argue” against Scottish independence given his push for Brexit, as Ms Sturgeon could use the same arguments he put forward during the Brexit referendum as reasons for Scotland wishing to quit the UK, it has been claimed. The Scottish election campaign will later this week get underway, with Ms Sturgeon readying to use the May ballot as a springboard for Indyref2. Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has vehemently opposed a second vote on independence, with a series of fluctuating independence support polls in recent weeks strenghtening his opposition. 

He has drawn-up a five-step plan to stop independence, and is willing to launch legal action, according to the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

However, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the separatist Parti Québécois in Canada and a vocal ally of Ms Sturgeon, told Express.co.uk that Mr Johnson would find it near impossible to “credibly argue” against independence given his Brexit stance.

The EU, in pushing Britain away, could therefore provide Ms Sturgeon with a template to snap back at Westminster’s attempts to block Scotland’s breakaway.

In his first interview with a British or European media outlet since becoming leader last year, Mr St-Pierre Plamondon said: “From Quebec’s standpoint, what we see in Scotland, and in Scotland’s situation, is a historical window for independence.

“I don’t see how Boris Johnson and Westminster will be able to credibly argue fear connected to independence just after the Brexit vote and all the arguments that were put forward by Johnson himself.

“People may change their mind in the few days before the ballot because of last second arguments of fear, but overall, what we saw from the 1995 Quebec vote, and what we would expect from the current context where it’s very hard for Johnson to come up with credibility with those arguments, is that the overall process of the campaign would favour leaving the UK.

“The Brexit case in itself shows that the benefits of deciding for yourself are a lot higher than the potential risks.”

Some of Mr Johnson’s arguments for the UK to leave the EU included reclaiming sovereignty over decision making, taking back fishing waters, as well as investing money in Britain previously sent to Brussels.

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Similarly, Ms Sturgeon wants to use independence as a tool to achieve democratic control, national self-determination and identity, and full political decision making transferred to Holyrood.

Ms Sturgeon may now use some of the arguments given for the UK leaving the EU as she fends of Mr Johnson’s opposition.

The First Minister has previously told Sky News that Mr Johnson’s Brexit decision was based on what was “best for his own advancement”.

She added: “I think Boris Johnson was making a calculation that was about his political interests not about the interests of the country.”

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It is true that Mr Johnson has voiced both pro-Remain and pro-Leave sentiment.

Yet, Ms Sturgeon’s independence stance is just as questionable, claimed Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member.

He drew attention to the “inconsistent” policy on independence and EU membership, which Scotland voted overwhelmingly to hold on to in 2016.

He told Express.co.uk: “It’s the policy on independence and the EU, they’re completely inconsistent.

“They (the SNP) say they want to be independent from Britain because they think they’ll be better off outside, yet the first thing they’d do is hop back into bed with the Europeans and trade their newly-found sovereignty for membership of the EU club.

“That policy has always struck me as completely bizarre and I don’t think they’re ever probed enough on it to explain that inconsistency.”

Polls for Scottish independence have fluctuated dramatically in the past weeks.

Generally, the figure has remained slightly above 50 percent in favour of leaving, although a handful of polls have found the opposite.

Today, the Scottish government published draft legislation for the holding of a second independence referendum.

It wants to hold the ballot after the pandemic but “in the first half of the new parliamentary term”.

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