Scotland election is 'on a knife edge' says Ross
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James Johnson revealed there was a “feeling” in No10 when he was working there that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to repeat “punchy statements” relatively risk-free if they had been made before, especially on the issue of Scottish independence. But the pollster warned repeating those statements after the SNP secure a majority in Holyrood may come at a disadvantage and explained new language had been tested out to see whether the PM could be appealing to energised Scottish nationalists. Mr Johnson added the language needs to be more “tempered” and explained how the Tory Government could still overthrow independence plots.
Speaking on Times Radio, host Matt Chorley joked the Scottish independence question was like playing “4d chess” adding the prime minister has a tough job on his plate.
He explained the Tory government does not want the SNP to push ahead with a second referendum which echos what many Scottish citizens are concerned about.
But on the other hand, many would oppose Boris Johnson wading into the independence question if a referendum went ahead meaning the Conservatives have to monitor closely how they involve and influence the vote.
The remarks were made in light of new polls which suggest a narrow minority of Scots would support independence.
James Johnson commented on the situation and said: “It is a reminder that this is not all good news for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.
“But the idea of Boris wading in and saying no is a bit of a concern.
“It’s interesting as well, speaking from my own time at No10, that there’s always been this feeling that if the prime minister has said something before then it’s actually quite risk-free for the PM to say it again.
“But actually if the PM does come out the morning after an SNP majority and say some of those quite punchy statements he’s made about a second referendum – they may fall flat.”
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Boris Johnson and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross have both come out quite vocally against Scottish independence.
Mr Ross slammed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for pushing ahead with a “divisive” referendum at a time where the country needs to recover.
The Scottish politician also called the referendum a “wildcat illegal” move during a leaders’ debate.
Continuing on, Mr Johnson said: “We did test a little bit of language which was a bit more tempered where Boris said now was not the time which did not rule out one forever but certainly in the next few years.
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“Voters were much more content with that and were agreeing with Boris Johnson and much less concerned about him wading into the argument.
“So there is room for Boris Johnson to get this one right even if there is an SNP majority.”
A recent Sky News poll put support for independence at 49 percent with a majority supporting no independence.
The SNP have promised to hold a referendum if they are elected but prominent MSPs disagree over when this should be implemented with some saying as soon as possible, at Christmas or in 2022.
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