Dec 15, 2019

Scottish leader says U.K. election results are mandate for independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show Sunday that the results of the U.K. election — which saw her Scottish Nationalist Party win 48 out of 59 Scottish seats in Parliament — mean Prime Minister Boris Johnson cannot ignore her requests for another independence referendum.

The big picture: Johnson and his Conservative Party are opposed to Scottish independence, a movement that Sturgeon has continued to champion even after it was defeated by 10% in a 2014 referendum.

  • Brexit, which the majority of Scottish voters oppose, has driven a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, invigorating calls for another independence referendum as the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union on Jan. 31.

Because the Conservatives won a huge majority in Friday's election, however, Johnson's government is under no obligation to take up Sturgeon's request, as the BBC's Andrew Marr pointed out.

  • Sturgeon countered that it would be "fundamentally not democratic" for Johnson to ignore her, noting that the Conservatives lost seven of their 13 Scottish seats while standing on a platform opposed to independence.
  • "It's a fundamental point of democracy — you can't hold Scotland in the union against its will," Sturgeon argued. "You can't lock us in a cupboard and turn the key and hope everything goes away. ... [I]f Boris Johnson is confident in the case for the union then he should be confident enough to make that case and allow people to decide."

Go deeper: Boris Johnson's big win means Brexit is coming

Go deeper

U.K. Parliament approves Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

Photo: Leon Neal/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. lawmakers approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal on Friday with a 358-234 vote, showcasing the power of Johnson's new majority after last week's general election, per the BBC.

Why it matters: The vote puts the country on course for a Jan. 31 exit from the European Union. It'll also lock in a transition period through the end of 2020 — in which the U.K. will have left the EU but remain subject to many of its rules — in order for the government to flesh out new international trade deals and relationships.

Go deeper: Britain remade by Boris Johnson

Keep ReadingArrowDec 20, 2019

Brexit is happening: U.K. Parliament gives final approval

Boris Johnson. Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.K.'s House of Commons voted 330-231 in favor of the European Union withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Why it matters: The bill must still be passed by the House of Lords, but the Commons' approval essentially ensures that Brexit will happen on Jan. 31. The passage of the bill after three years of deadlock is a result of the landslide victory Johnson's Conservative Party won in last month's snap election.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020

More than 5,000 members of anti-Islam group join U.K.'s Conservative Party

Supporters of Britain First take part in the March Against Terrorism on April 01, 2017 in London. Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

More than 5,000 of the 7,500 members of the openly anti-Islam extremist group Britain First have joined the U.K.'s Conservative Party in the wake of Boris Johnson's landslide election victory this month, The Guardian reports.

The big picture: Johnson has faced criticism for his past writings comparing veiled Muslim women to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers," and was pressured during a leadership debate in June to agree to an independent investigation into widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

Go deeperArrowDec 29, 2019