Former MP and MSP Dennis Canavan says that if the Prime Minister was to “dig in his heels” and deny a fresh referendum, this could result in pro-independence parties winning a majority of seats at Holyrood in the 2021 Scottish elections.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already written to the Tory PM, asking for the power to hold another ballot on the issue to be transferred to Edinburgh, despite the Conservative declaring his opposition to such a vote.
But Canavan, a former Labour politician who was chair of Yes Scotland’s advisory board in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper: “The Scottish Parliament became a reality despite Margaret Thatcher.
“Similarly Scottish independence will become a reality despite Boris Johnson.”
Canavan stated: “If Boris Johnson continues to dig his heels in, he would prove to be a recruiting sergeant for the cause of independence and guarantee that the 2021 elections to the Scottish Parliament will produce an even bigger majority of MSPs in favour of Indyref2.”
He said he was “not at all surprised” by the SNP’s success in the recent general election, which saw Nicola Sturgeon’s party win 47 of the 59 seats up for grabs in Scotland.
He added that came after the Unionist parties “spent too much time in negative campaigning, trying to rubbish the case for independence”.
Canavan insisted that the results had “reinforced” the case for a second independence vote.
He stated: “The majority of MSPs support independence and are in favour of Indyref2. By any reasonable definition of democracy, that constitutes a Scottish Parliamentary mandate from the people of Scotland to hold another referendum on independence.
“That mandate is reinforced by the SNP winning over 80% of Scottish seats at the recent general election.”