Beth Rigby warns Boris Johnson faces election ’nightmare’– no choice but to fight in court

Glasgow: Independence supporters and unionists hold protests

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Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby said the Prime Minister would be faced with the prospect of taking legal action against Holyrood if it passes legislation for a vote on Union membership. In an op-ed, she predicted the path could lead to a potentially messy battle at the Supreme Court. She said a victory for Ms Sturgeon at Thursday’s elections would have profound consequences for Mr Johnson.

She wrote: “For Boris Johnson and his Number 10, the prospect of an outright SNP victory is nothing short of a nightmare. It puts the future of the 300-year Union into play.

“It is a fight that the prime minister can neither ignore nor afford to lose. Is there a worse legacy than being the British prime minister who lost the Union?”

The SNP published its “Road to a Referendum” map in January.

The party also set up an independence task force, a move that drew scorn due to the timing.

Scotland has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic and many voters saw the SNP’s decision as unwise.

The roadmap sets out how the nationalists plan to hold another public vote on independence after 55 percent of Scots rejected the idea in 2014.

It would see Holyrood pass the legislation and than ask the UK Government to agree with it.

If ministers refused to accept it, Westminster and Holyrood could become embroiled in a high-stakes legal battle.

Ms Rigby added: “Ms Sturgeon knows it is not good enough for Mr Johnson just to declare an independence referendum illegal – he’ll have to settle that through the Supreme Court.”

On Monday the SNP leader repeated her assertion that Scotland needs “serious leadership” as restrictions are set to be eased.

After this week’s elections, the first major decision of the new Scottish Government would be to approve changes to coronavirus rules due to come into force on May 17.

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The changes, which will see Scotland move to Level 2, including allowing four people from two households to meet indoors for the first time since last year, along with increasing the number of people who can meet outdoors.

The SNP said this week’s vote was on a “knife edge”.

The First Minister is keen to put her experience in office since 2014 and her handling of the public health crisis front and centre to her campaign.

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She said: “The first job of a newly elected government will be to decide on whether we are ready to lift restrictions even further on the 17th May.

“That’s why I believe Scotland needs serious leadership for serious times.”

Ms Sturgeon said she feels “confident that the country is on the right track, and we will be able to take further steps to free up society and allow our economy to begin to recover”.

Coronavirus infections north of the border reduced rapidly since the beginning of the year, along with deaths, hospital admissions and intensive care treatment.

More than 60 percent of Scots have so far been inoculated.

Every poll has the SNP returning as the largest party in Holyrood after Thursday, but the parliamentary arithmetic may still have it running a minority administration, as was the case in the last term.

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