A Scottish independence vote will not happen before the next general election, Michael Gove has declared.
The Cabinet Office minister said Boris Johnson wanted instead to focus on recovery from the pandemic and economic opportunity. ‘It’s foolish to talk about a referendum now,’ he added.
‘It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.’
A Scottish independence vote will not happen before the next general election, Michael Gove (pictured) has declared, saying Boris Johnson wanted instead to focus on recovery from the pandemic and economic opportunity
In the interview with the Daily Telegraph he said he did not think there was any circumstance in which Mr Johnson would approve a vote being held any time before the 2024 election.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stepped up calls for a second referendum on independence after she was formally reappointed last month.
She claimed her Holyrood election victory was a clear mandate to hold one while admitting the country was divided on the issue.
Miss Sturgeon insisted she would demand a referendum only ‘when the crisis of Covid has passed’ and said her focus would be on unity.
She has pledged to hold a rerun of the 2014 vote in the first part of the Scottish parliamentary term, which could mean as early as 2023.
But Mr Gove’s comments go further than previous statements by UK ministers, who have said another referendum will not be granted for now.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured on Tuesday) stepped up calls for a second referendum on independence after she was formally reappointed last month
He said he ‘did not think’ there was any circumstance in which Mr Johnson would approve a vote being held any time before the next general election, scheduled for May 2024.
Mr Gove added: ‘The Prime Minister is completely focused on making sure that, for the lifetime of this parliament, we increase economic opportunity, we provide people with the chance to make more of their lives, take control of their futures.’
He also said the Prime Minister should spend more time in Scotland debunking the ‘myth’ that Mr Johnson ‘doesn’t go down well in Scotland’.
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