RE-ELECTED Prime Minister David Cameron has said “there isn’t going to be another referendum” on Scottish independence, after the pro-independence SNP won a landslide victory in Scotland in the General Election.
Cameron, whose Tory party now holds a slim majority in the House of Commons, has vowed to push ahead with the Smith Commission proposals on more powers for Scotland, although SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said the proposals agreed last year are clearly insufficient after the SNP’s stunning victory north of the border.
The nature of the SNP’s victory, on an anti-Tory and anti-austerity agenda, has led to renewed speculation about a second independence referendum.
Despite receiving less than 15 per cent support in Scotland, Cameron unilaterally announced that he would oppose a second referendum.
Cameron said: “We had a referendum. Respect and trust should be at the heart of our system and that's what we did. Scotland voted emphatically to stay in the United Kingdom, which was an affirmation of what a great country this is.
“There isn't going to be another referendum. We had the referendum and the SNP aren't pushing for another referendum, actually. Nicola Sturgeon said that vote in the General Election was not about another referendum.
“Now what we need to do is bring the United Kingdom together. We are going to do that by delivering the devolution settlement in Wales, delivering the devolution settlement in Scotland, keeping all the pledges that were made.”
Ruth Davidson, Scottish Tory leader, said in a pre-election debate on the BBC that if a party was elected to be the Scottish Government in 2016 on a mandate for a referendum, she couldn’t foresee circumstances in which the Tories would block a referendum.
Spokespeople at Tory party headquarters at UK and Scottish level confirmed to CommonSpace prior to the election that this was the position of the party, however the Scottish Tories spokesperson added: “We can’t just have a situation where the SNP keeps calling referendums until it manages to win one.”
Nicola Sturgeon, speaking on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, said she would stick to her promise to the Scottish electorate that the General Election campaign was not about independence, saying a referendum was not on “the immediate horizon”, but again repeated her argument that an exit from the EU could be a trigger for a second referendum.
She said the party was focusing on speedy devolution of powers beyond the Smith Commission which would allow Scotland to grow its economy.
Sturgeon said: “Our manifesto set out very clearly that we would want to move to full fiscal responsibility; clearly, that will take a number of years to implement.
“What we will argue for is priority devolution of powers over business taxes, employment, the minimum wage, welfare, because these are the levers we need to grow our economy faster; to get more people into work paying taxes and lifting people out of poverty.”
The SNP is now the third largest party in the UK, winning 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland.
Picture courtesy of Number 10