BORIS Johnson last night slapped down SNP hopes of a referendum rerun – as Nicola Sturgeon set up a Christmas Scexit showdown.
The Prime Minister restated his opposition to a new bid to break up Britain and gave staunch support to bolstering the Union in a phone call to the SNP leader. It came after Ms Sturgeon claimed that her general election gains meant he must hand her the legal powers for a poll. With the Nats winning 48 seats – up from 35 two years ago – the First Minister announced she will publish a revamped poll blueprint next week. Ms Sturgeon said the “overwhelming” victory was a clear endorsement of her demands for a referendum next year. The Tory leader said throughout the campaign that he would never allow a repeat of the 2014 plebiscite.
A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Johnson had “reiterated his unwavering commitment to strengthening the union”.
He added: “On Brexit, the Prime Minister said that he is now in a position to get this done in a way that allows the whole of the UK to move forward together, providing certainty for Scottish businesses and improving the lives of people.
“The Prime Minister made clear that he remained opposed to a second independence referendum, standing with the majority of people in Scotland who do not want to return to division and uncertainty.
“He added the result of the 2014 referendum was decisive.”
In an echo of the independence referendum, the SNP ended up with 45 percent of the vote and the three unionist parties almost 55 percent. Ms Sturgeon insisted she had an undeniable mandate having secured a majority of Scottish seats with 1.2 million votes.
The SNP’s landslide saw defeat for Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, seven Tories, and the near wipeout of Scottish Labour.
Labour’s vote collapsed by 8.5 points and huge swings to the SNP were recorded in almost every seat.
The Nationalists vote was up 8.1 points, while the Tory vote fell 3.5 points to 25.1 percent.
In a speech in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said it proved a fresh vote was “the right of the people of Scotland”.
The First Minister added that while she conceded that Boris Johnson had a mandate to take England out of the EU, he had “no mandate whatsoever” to take Scotland out, given its rejection of Brexit.
She acknowledged that “not absolutely everyone” who voted SNP supported separatation, but that the result of the election proved the UK Government had no right to stop a vote.
Addressing Mr Johnson directly, she said: “This is not simply a demand I or the SNP are making.
“It is the right of the people of Scotland – and you as the leader of a defeated party in Scotland have no right to stand in the way.” Aides confirmed she intended to write to Mr Johnson before Christmas to formally demand a Section 30 order – needed to hold a legally binding referendum.
The first Scottish result came in at 1.30am, with SNP’s Margaret Ferrier winning Rutherglen and Hamilton West from Labour with a majority of 5,230. At 1.50am, the SNP’s Dave Doogan won Angus from the Tories’ Kirstene Hair with a majority of 3,795. There was a swing from the Tories to the SNP of 7.7 percent.
Around 25 minutes later, the SNP held with an increased majority Lanark and Hamilton East, one of the Scottish Tories’ top target seats.
Just after 2.30am, the SNP’s John Nicolson won Ochil and South Perthshire from the Tories, despite a gaffe which saw him get the name of the constituency wrong during a hustings.
In Perth and North Perthshire, the SNP’s Pete Wishart increased his majority from only 21 to 7,550.
The SNP’s Owen Thompson also won Midlothian from Labour with a majority of 5,705.
Despite the devastating loss of their UK leader, the Lib Dems were left with an unchanged total of four seats in Scotland. They took their top target, Fife North East, by 1,316 votes.
Wendy Chamberlain ousted the SNP’s Stephen Gethins, who was defending the UK’s smallest majority of only two.
The Tories held the three seats along the English border, with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack winning a 1,805 majority.
His predecessor David Mundell also stays as MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale.
The Tories’ David Duguid also successfully defended Banff and Buchan and Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine but Colin Clark, who defeated Alex Salmond in 2017, lost his Gordon seat by 819 votes.
The Lib Dems held Edinburgh West and Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. They also held Orkney and Shetland. SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed the UK had been left in a “constitutional crisis”.
But the returning Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP refused to say if the SNP would take legal action if Mr Johnson maintains his veto.
He said that the Prime Minister “simply can’t continue to say no” to a request – saying this would be an “affront to democracy”.
But Mr Jack was adamant the PM should continue to block Ms Sturgeon’s calls.
He said: “We’ve said it was once-in-a-generation and that generation isn’t past yet, and I would still maintain more people will have cast votes in Scotland tonight for Unionist
parties than will have cast votes for the SNP.”