Idea of Boris as PM ‘beggars belief’, says Sturgeon

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, at Farmleigh House Dublin. (Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie)

It “absolutely beggars belief” that the Conservative party would even consider electing Boris Johnson as British prime minister, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said during a visit to Dublin.

Sturgeon slammed the Tory leadership front-runner for his brief yet disastrous tenure as foreign secretary.

Outside of Brexit, she said, “what has done the most to trash international reputation of the UK over the last few years has been his ridiculous tenure as foreign secretary. And now they are thinking, ‘fine, we’ll make him prime minister’.”

Sturgeon admitted her relationship with Theresa May had been “strained” but said if Johnson becomes her successor, it will be a case of “bring back Theresa”.

The Scottish First Minister was speaking at the Royal Irish Academy in the wake of the European Parliament election results in Scotland, where her party gained three seats in the European Parliament and 38 per cent of the vote on a pro-remain stance.

She predicted that many more Scottish people will vote for independence in a future referendum having witnessed the “solidarity” that the EU had shown towards Ireland during the Brexit negotiations.

Boris Johnson (Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie)

She said Scotland had been treated with “utter contempt by the Westminster system”.

Scotland voted 62 per cent to remain and the party at Westminster, namely Ian Blackford, sought to find compromises to protect Scotland’s interests.

Ignored

“We have been ignored. The Scottish parliament has been cast aside. Even in the process of the Brexit fiasco, they have taken powers away from the Scottish Parliament in order to centralise all of this,” she said in Dublin, adding:“Suddenly this idea of being a small, independent country within the European Union – you only have to look at Ireland to see the benefits of that.”

When asked if she thought Brexit will mean the break up of the UK, she responded “yes”. When asked how that makes her feel, she responded: “good”.

Mrs Sturgeon suggested that a second referendum on Scottish independence will happen within the terms of the Scottish parliament by May 2021 and most likely in the second half of next year.

“I will make the prediction here today that Scotland will vote for independence,” she said.

Nicola Sturgeon in Iveagh House, Dublin in 2016 (Photo:RollingNews.ie)

She also noted that her country might also benefit from a Citizens’ Assembly to debate the future of Scotland. “We are always keen to learn from the Irish experience,” she said, referring to the Citizens Assemblies held to guide the processes of recent referenda.

She added that the SNP would never take steps to “compromise” the Good Friday Agreement but asserted that, if Northern Ireland “effectively” remains in the EU single market when Scotland isn’t, “that would have huge implications for Scotland”. ]


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