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Nicky Campbell hit out at Nicola Sturgeon over Boris Johnson’s power to block IndyRef2

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Nicky Campbell jokes that 5 Live guest has ‘scared’ him

Nicky Campbell is a household BBC Radio name and has been hosting programmes on Radio 5 Live for more than a decade — he currently co-presents the Breakfast show with Rachel Burden. His job means he regularly locks horns with various politicians. He has even been accused of breaching the BBC’s neutral stance by the Scottish National Party (SNP) after supposedly showing bias towards the Union in the past in a discussion over Scottish independence.

The Scottish journalist has also come head to head with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, when pressing her over the SNP’s insistence on a second referendum.

Ms Sturgeon, spurred on by the UK’s split opinions over Brexit and the pandemic, has resurrected her call for a second independence referendum in recent weeks.

The first “once-in-a-generation” vote was held in 2014, and the Scottish people chose to remain.

However, the First Minister and leader of the SNP is adamant that as a majority of Scots voted to stay in the EU and Holyrood has supported a stricter lockdown than in Westminster, now is the time to strike.

A glance at her previous remarks in a spat with Mr Campbell have also illuminated just how she could bring this vote about.

SNP leader and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with BBC radio host Nicky Campbell

SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with BBC radio host Nicky Campbell (Image: Getty)

Sturgeon and Campbell discussed the SNP's desire for IndyRef2

Sturgeon and Campbell discussed the SNP’s desire for IndyRef2 (Image: BBC)

Mr Campbell asked her on BBC Radio 5 Live just how she expected to do this, if Prime Minister Boris Johnson went on to refuse to grant another public vote to Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon responded: “Suffice to say I’ve thought through all of these things, we’ll look at all options if we get into that situation.

“I’ve made it very clear it has to be a legal, legitimate process if we want it to lead to independence.

“But the more, particularly in advance of the election, we talk about what happens if we get into that situation, we almost legitimise the right of Boris Johnson to block an independence referendum.

“He doesn’t have that right.

“Morally, it’s not for Westminster politicians to decide whether or not Scotland becomes independent, it’s for the people of Scotland.”

However, Mr Campbell hit back and pointed out that as the Prime Minister, Mr Johnson does have the “legal and constitutional” power to decide on this.

READ MORE:  Nicky Campbell caught in SNP storm after he showed ‘bias to Union’

Campbell and Sturgeon during a BBC 5 Live interview

Campbell and Sturgeon during a BBC 5 Live interview (Image: BBC)

Ms Sturgeon replied: “That’s never been tested.

“I’ve accepted the need to have that proper legal process, but actually in point of fact it’s never been tested in court exactly what the position would be.

“Politically, I’m a politician so it’s not surprising I say this, but let’s get the political solutions if we can and that first step in this is to try and make sure that Boris Johnson is not calling the shots the day after this election.”

Ms Sturgeon was speaking in December 2019 with the intention of introducing a second referendum in 2020.

However, just one month after that exchange, Mr Johnson rejected her Section 30 order under the 1998 Scotland Act.

This would have granted the First Minister the right to hold a referendum.

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Boris Johnson rejected Sturgeon's request for referendum powers to transfer to her

Boris Johnson rejected Sturgeon’s request for referendum powers to transfer to her (Image: Getty)

Sturgeon believes division over Brexit and the pandemic have accelerated the call for independence

Sturgeon believes division over Brexit and the pandemic have accelerated the call for independence (Image: Getty)

She also called for the Scottish Parliament to be given permanent powers to hold a subsequent independence referendum — but this was chucked out by Mr Johnson, too.

In a public letter, Mr Johnson told her: “Another independence referendum would continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade, with Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs again left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK.”

She responded: “The Westminster union cannot be unsustainable and self-defeating.

“The Westminster union cannot be sustained without consent.

“Democracy will prevail.

Sturgeon wants an advisory referendum if she wins the May elections

Sturgeon wants an advisory referendum if she wins the May elections (Image: Getty)

“The only question is how it will take the Tories and the rest of the Westminster establishment to accept that inevitability.”

The Holyrood elections are set to take place this May — and Ms Sturgeon has again claimed that if her party is elected again, she will hold an advisory referendum.

She said: “I want to have a legal referendum, that’s what I’m going to seek the authority of the Scottish people for in May and if they give me that authority that’s what I intend to do: to have a legal referendum to give people the right to choose.

“That’s democracy. It’s not about what I want or what Boris Johnson wants.”

Polls from January also show rising support for Scottish independence, as it’s reached its highest level in the last six years.



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