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Sat 08 May 2021:

The Scottish National Party hoped a second day of vote-counting Saturday would bring it a slim majority in the devolved parliament while Prime Minister Boris Johnson decried its plan for an independence referendum.

The UK voted in a series of local and regional polls on “Super Thursday” in its first major vote since Brexit and the pandemic.

Johnson’s Conservative Party performed strongly and claimed a traditional Labour seat in a parliamentary by-election.

But the focus remained on Scotland, where a vote for the devolved parliament in Edinburgh tested public support for the SNP’s plan to hold a fresh referendum on independence that could reshape the UK.


The SNP on Friday won 39 of the 48 seats declared but lost two key targets. It needs 65 seats to claim a majority at Holyrood for the first time since 2011.

“Hopes of SNP majority fading”, the Herald daily headlined its election story, while The Scotsman wrote: “SNP hopes on a knife-edge amid gains for Nicola Sturgeon’s party.”

Deputy First Minister John Sweeney told BBC Radio 4 on Saturday morning that the SNP “is going to be the largest party in the Scottish Parliament” but said an overall majority “was always a very, very challenging mountain for us to climb”.

He predicted that the Scottish parliament would however have a majority “of people who are committed to the holding of an independence referendum.” The other pro-independence party with Holyrood seats is the Scottish Greens.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested he would reject any calls for a second independence referendum, saying it would be “irresponsible and reckless” right now.

Asked if an SNP majority would mean there was a mandate for another vote, he told the Daily Telegraph: “I think that count is still taking place and we’ll have to see what happens. I listened to the Scottish election carefully. My impression was that they [the SNP] moved away from the idea of a referendum, and I think very wisely.

“I don’t think this is anything like the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to be talking about ripping our country apart, when actually people want to heal our economy and bounce forward together. That’s what people want.”




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