World Scotland's pro-independence government close to a majority
Europe for Scotland: the call of 170 European personalities
© Jeff J. Mitchell Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister of Scotland, April 15, 2021. Dear Heads of State and Government of the European Union, Cher President of the European Council, Dear President and members of the European Parliament, dear President and members of the Commission, We are Europeans throughout the continent and around the world. Naturally, we do not agree on everything.
LONDON (AP) — Counting resumed Saturday in Scotland’s parliamentary election with the governing Scottish National Party very close to securing a majority that would see it make a push for another independence referendum.
With 49 constituencies counted, the SNP had won 40 seats and is clearly on course to win its fourth straight term in office. However, given the country’s electoral system, which also allocates some seats by a form of proportional representation, it may fall short of the 65 seats it would need in the Edinburgh-based parliament to have a majority.
The UK is already stretched to breaking point. Boris Johnson's pile of scandals isn't helping matters
Life isn't much fun for Boris Johnson at the moment. Despite the United Kingdom's successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout and an end to lockdown in sight, the British Prime Minister finds himself engulfed in scandals less than a week before crucial elections take place. © Robert Perry/Getty Images Boris Johnson holds a crab at Stromness Harbour in July 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. The scandals range from allegations that he said he'd rather "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" than impose another lockdown to a formal investigation into exactly how he paid for a refurbishment to his apartment in Downing Street.
Ballots also continue to be counted in the Welsh parliamentary election and a swath of local elections in England. But it’s the Scottish election that could have the biggest U.K.-wide implications as it could fast-track another referendum on its future within the U.K.
Were the SNP to win a majority, its leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, would argue that she has a mandate to call another referendum. Were the party to fall short, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has the ultimate power to allow a referendum, could argue that she didn’t. On Saturday, he wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that another referendum would be “irresponsible and reckless” in the “current context” as Britain emerges from the coronavirus crisis.
Explainer-Scotland's difficult route to another independence referendum
Explainer-Scotland's difficult route to another independence referendumLONDON (Reuters) - Scottish independence supporters are calling Thursday's election the most important in the nation's history as they vow that if they win a majority in the devolved parliament, they will push for another referendum on breaking from the United Kingdom.
Speaking after winning her seat in Glasgow on Friday, Sturgeon said her immediate priority would be to deal with the pandemic and “then when the time is right to offer this country the choice of a better future.”
Scotland has been part of the U.K. since 1707 and the issue of Scottish independence appeared settled when Scottish voters rejected secession by 55%-45% in a 2014 referendum. But the U.K.-wide decision in 2016 to leave the European Union ran against the wishes of most Scots — 62% voted in favor of staying within the bloc while most voters in England and Wales wanted to leave. That gave the Scottish nationalist cause fresh legs.
Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, said that the party would still have the right to call an election if it fell short but enough other pro-independence members were elected, such as from the Scottish Greens.
COVID-19 overshadows independence in key Scottish election
EYEMOUTH, Scotland (AP) — James Cook was an enthusiastic supporter of Scottish independence, but now he’s not so sure. As Scotland holds an election Thursday that could be a stepping stone to the breakup of the United Kingdom, the seafood wholesaler has more urgent things on his mind. Britain’s exit from the European Union and the coronavirus pandemic have caused economic upheaval, and he says it’s not the right time to gamble on independence. “A third major event could be cataclysmic for us,” Cook said.The question of independence overshadows the election for the 129-seat Scottish Parliament.
“I’m very confident that will be the case,” he told the BBC.
So far the elections in England have been largely positive for Johnson’s Conservatives, notably its victory in a special election in the post-industrial town of Hartlepool for a parliamentary seat that the main opposition Labour Party had held since 1974. The win extended the party’s grip on parts of England that had been Labour strongholds for decades, if not a century. Many of these seats that have flipped from red to blue voted heavily in 2016 for Britain’s departure from the European Union. The speedy rollout of coronavirus vaccines also appears to have given the Conservatives a boost.
On what was dubbed Super Thursday, around 50 million voters were eligible to take part in scores of elections, some of which had been postponed a year because of the pandemic that has left the U.K. with Europe’s largest coronavirus death toll.
Scotland independence debate dominates UK polls
Britain holds its first local and regional elections since Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, with Scotland the main focus due to calls for a new independence referendum that could reshape the country. Voting begins at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) for local councils in England, regional mayors, including in London, and for the devolved legislatures in Wales and Scotland. Polls on what has been dubbed "Super Thursday" close at 10:00 pm, withVoting begins at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) for local councils in England, regional mayors, including in London, and for the devolved legislatures in Wales and Scotland.
Video: Questions on how Scottish independence would function remain un-answered, politician says (CNBC)
For the Labour Party and its leader, Keir Starmer, the Hartlepool result was a huge disappointment and has led to another bout of soul-searching in the party.
Hopes had been high that Starmer would help Labour reconnect with its lost voters in the north of England when he took the helm a little more than a year ago after succeeding the more left-wing Jeremy Corbyn, who led the party in 2019 to its worst election performance since 1935.
Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, said he took full responsibility for the party’s defeat in Hartlepool, adding that he would soon be setting out a strategy of how it can reconnect with its traditional voters. He didn’t give further details.
Starmer and Labour should have some results to cheer over the weekend with Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham expected to win second terms as the mayors of London and Manchester, respectively. The Labour government in Wales has also done better than anticipated and is set to hold onto power.
Scottish Leader Nicola Sturgeon Weighing Independence Vote for Country in 2022 .
Sturgeon's office told the Associated Press that "her intention [is] to ensure that the people of Scotland can choose our own future when the crisis is over."Sturgeon said she wouldn't rule out legislation paving the way for a vote at the beginning of 2022, a move Johnson has called "reckless" in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, coming off her fourth consecutive parliamentary win, said that while Scotland's recovery is an immediate priority, a vote to break away from Britain is a matter of "when, not if." Results from Scotland's local elections last Thursday show that the SNP took 64 of 129 seats in the Parliament.