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Sturgeon: Johnson 'not comfortable' opposing indyref2

The First Minister spoke after meeting the new Prime Minister for talks at Bute House.

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested Boris Johnson was "not at his most comfortable" when trying to justify his opposition to a second independence referendum during talks between the two leaders.

The First Minister met the new Prime Minister for talks at her Bute House residence, following Johnson's visit to Faslane naval base and his meeting with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

She said she had discussed Scottish independence with the PM, expressing her view it was not a "democratic position" for Number 10 to deny the Scottish Parliament the powers to hold a new referendum.

Boris Johnson: I'm a passionate believer in the union.
Boris Johnson: I'm a passionate believer in the union. Duncan McGlynn / Getty

Sturgeon said: "I again told the Prime Minister the Scottish Parliament would, after the recess, continue to consider the framework bill that will enable a referendum.

"I made it very clear to him that I thought it was for the people of Scotland, not him or I, for that matter, to decide our future... that the change of circumstances as a result of Brexit makes it necessary for Scotland now to consider whether it wants to become an independent country.

"Clearly, Boris Johnson takes a different view of that but it is not, in my view, a democratic position to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose and I made that clear to him."

The First Minister said she would make her views known on if she would accelerate her legislative plans on building an indyref framework after the summer recess.

Johnson arrived to meet Sturgeon to be greeted by a host of pro-independence and pro-EU demonstrators, with many booing.

Asked if Johnson had given any indication he could be amenable to granting Section 30 powers to hold a referendum, she replied: "It's not for me to put words in Boris Johnson's mouth. He's made his position clear.

"The position he articulated to me privately is the same one he's articulated publicly.

"But I do think he... perhaps is not as his most comfortable when he's trying to justify why it shouldn't be for the people of Scotland to decide their own future."

The FM also said she believes the path on Brexit that Johnson's government is pursuing to be "dangerous".

Sturgeon continued: "It became clear to me that this government - the new Prime Minister - has set the UK on an almost inevitable path to a no-deal Brexit.

"The position that it has taken makes it very difficult to see how any deal can be struck with the EU and I think that would be catastrophic for Scotland and indeed for the whole of the UK.

"I made abundantly clear to Boris Johnson my opposition to Brexit and to a no-deal Brexit."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1439600-boris-johnson-i-m-ruth-davidson-s-number-one-fan/ | default
'On Brexit, the Prime Minister said that while the government's preference is to negotiate a new deal which abolishes the anti-democratic backstop, the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31 come what may.'
PM's spokesman

After the meeting, Johnson stressed he was a "passionate believer" in the union.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister met the First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh today.

"The Prime Minister said he was a passionate believer in the power of the union and he would work tirelessly to strengthen the United Kingdom and improve the lives of people right across Scotland.

"On Brexit, the Prime Minister said that while the government's preference is to negotiate a new deal which abolishes the anti-democratic backstop, the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31 come what may.

"The PM set out the scale of work under way to prepare for our departure and also offered to hold a JMC(P) (joint ministerial plenary committee) soon so that he can work with the devolved administrations to make sure all corners of the UK are ready to enjoy a bright future outside of the EU."

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