Scottish Tories admit second referendum could follow May elections

Scottish Conservative MP Douglas Ross in Edinburgh, after he confirmed he will stand for leadership

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross in Edinburgh - Credit: PA

Independence supporters have ridiculed a flyer produced by the Scottish Tories warning an SNP majority at this year's Holyrood elections would lead to a second referendum to separate from the United Kingdom.

The leaflet, sent to household across Scotland, appears to suggest Boris Johnson would not prevent the referendum.

It says: "The SNP will hold another independence referendum in the next parliament if they win a majority at May's election.

"But their referendum can be stopped, if the SNP don't get that majority of seats.

"The Scottish Conservatives are the only party able to prevent the SNP winning a majority."

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It showed a bar chart of how many seats each party held in 2016: 31 for the Tories, 24 for Labour, six for the Greens and five for the LibDems. It failed to mention the SNP, which won 63 seats. 

It went on to suggest that the Conservatives were the only formidable opposition party in Scotland.

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The flyer, which is signed by Scottish Tory co-leaders Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson, mentions the SNP 12 times and the Scottish Tories only eight.

A Scottish Conservatives spokesman said: "The SNP are pushing for indyref2 as early as this year, and they’ve made it clear that they will seek to hold an illegal, wildcat referendum if they win a majority in May."

MORE: Draft legislation within weeks on a second Scottish independence referendum

SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown told The National: "Scotland will choose its own future –not Boris Johnson or Michael Gove. The Tories are clearly rattled and their Trump-like attempts to block democracy won't last. 

"Another pro-independence majority at Holyrood in May will confirm Scottish voters want to have their say on a better future in a post-pandemic referendum. 

"The longer Boris Johnson stands in the way of that the more support for independence will grow."

The advertisement goes on to allege that Labour "won't block the SNP", referencing headlines that said Labour leadership candidates Monica Lennon and Anas Sarwar rejected calls for a "Unionist coalition" with the Tories.

The current Scottish Labour position is that a new referendum should not be held until at least 2026.

Sarwar, who is currently the frontrunner in the Scottish Labour leadership contest, is a hardline Unionist and has rejected indyref2 calls.

But last week Lennon said her party must accept indyref2 if pro-independence parties win a majority at the Holyrood elections.

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