Gove refuses to say how UK government will handle Scottish independence drive

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Gove Refuses To Say How Uk Government Will Handle Scottish Independence Drive
Senior British minister Michael Gove, © PA Archive/PA Images
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Senior British minister Michael Gove refused to say how the government would react if the Scottish parliament were to pass a bill calling for a referendum on independence from the UK.

Pro-independence parties won an overall majority in the Scottish parliament in elections held on Thursday.

Scottish first minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon said after her election win that she would push ahead with plans for a new independence referendum.

The British government strongly opposes a referendum, saying the issue was settled in 2014 when Scots voted against independence by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Repeatedly asked on Sky News on Sunday whether the UK government would go to court to stop a referendum, Mr Gove refused to say.

"We're not going to go there," he said.

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"To start speculating about this type of legislation or that type of court hearing and all the rest of it, it's just a massive distraction," he said.

Speaking on Saturday, Ms Sturgeon said her first focus would be on the coronavirus pandemic, but that the people of Scotland should be able to decide on the constitutional question “when the time is right”.

An independence referendum was pledged in the manifesto of both the SNP and the Scottish Greens, with Ms Sturgeon adding: “It is a commitment made to the people by a majority of the MSPs have been elected to our national parliament."

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