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Scottish leader warns new PM Boris Johnson on Brexit

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A handout photo made available from the Scottish Parliament on March 21, 2017, shows Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking in the chamber on the first day of the ‘Scotland’s Choice’ debate on a motion to seek the authority to hold an indpendence referendum at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Scottish lawmakers on March 21 began a two-day debate on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for an independence referendum. / AFP PHOTO / Scottish Parliament / Andrew Cowan

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Thursday that Scotland needed an “alternative option” to the Brexit strategy of new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as she planned another independence push.

Sturgeon, who leads the separatist Scottish National Party (SNP), wrote to Johnson to say the devolved Scottish Parliament would consider legislation in the coming months for another vote on seceding from the United Kingdom.

Britain as a whole voted by 52 percent to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. Within Scotland, 62 percent voted in favour of the UK remaining in the EU.

Three years on, Johnson insists that Britain should leave the EU on the October 31 deadline, preferably with a divorce deal but without one if Brussels will not renegotiate the agreement rejected by British MPs.

Sturgeon sent Johnson Scottish government research on the potential negative impacts of Brexit on Scotland.

The nationalist leader told him it was “imperative that you change course immediately to avoid causing lasting harm to the people of Scotland.”

Given Johnson’s position, “it is now — more than ever — essential that in Scotland we have an alternative option.”

The left-wing SNP’s mission is Scottish independence — a proposition rejected by 55 percent of voters in Scotland in a 2014 referendum.

Sturgeon has already indicated she is targeting another referendum in the second half of 2020.

The first minister said her administration in Edinburgh “will continue to make preparations to give people in Scotland the choice of becoming an independent country.

“The parliament will consider the necessary framework legislation for a referendum after the summer recess.”

Another Scottish independence referendum could only be legally held with the permission of the British government.

However, Johnson is opposed to allowing a re-run of the 2014 vote.

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in the British parliament, called Johnson the “last prime minister of the United Kingdom” in his first exchanges in the House of Commons with the new premier.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit, we did not vote for no-deal and we most certainly did not vote for this prime minister,” he said.

Blackford said Johnson was “deluded” because a new deal from Brussels was “the stuff of fantasy”.

Johnson said Blackford was “completely wrong in his analysis, in his defeatism and his pessimism”.


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