Alex Salmond: Push for independence now while Boris Johnson is mired in scandal

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Alex Salmond (centre) said Boris Johnson (right) was the worst prime minister in living memory (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)
Alex Salmond (centre) said Boris Johnson (right) was the worst prime minister in living memory (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)

Former first minister Alex Salmond said independence supporters should capitalise on the scandal engulfing Boris Johnson and push for another referendum.

Predicting that the Prime Minister would be ousted this year after the outrage of Downing Street hosting parties during lockdown, Mr Salmond warned that any successor would be “more organised, more popular, more formidable and more ruthless than Boris Johnson”.

The Alba Party leader said Mr Johnson was the “worst Prime Minister in living memory” and argued independence campaigners would “not get a better opportunity” to achieve Scottish Independence.

Mr Salmond said: “ It’s in Boris Johnson’s nature to have scandals. The Tories know that so, at some point this year, they will get rid of him. But, the question we should be asking is, who comes next?

Alex Salmond said the independence movement would not have a better opportunity to push for another referendum (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Alex Salmond said the independence movement would not have a better opportunity to push for another referendum (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

“It’s not the task of Alba and it shouldn’t be the task of any Scottish politicians to replace Boris Johnson with another Tory, particularly when that Tory will be more organised, more popular, more formidable and more ruthless than Boris Johnson.

He added: “We must ask ourselves, given the total disorganisation of people like Johnson, Michael Gove and the rest of them, why on earth have we not been pushing the independence question?

“We will not get a better opportunity than to have the weakness at the very top of London’s Government, and that weakness should be Scotland’s opportunity.”

His comments come as polling by YouGov showed the Prime Minister now has a net favourability rating of minus 77 in Scotland – the lowest of all four UK nations.

Conducted after details of more apparently rule-breaking parties emerged, the poll commissioned for The Times found the Conservative Party had a net favourability of minus 64 compared to minus 17 for Labour.

Among the likely Tory challengers to succeed Mr Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak had a net favourability rating of minus 31 in Scotland, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was on minus 34 and Home Secretary Priti Patel was on minus 73.

Responding to the survey, the SNP’s constitution spokesman, Tommy Sheppard, said: “The people of Scotland have time and again rejected Boris Johnson and the Tories – and this latest poll reaffirms that position.

“With each passing day we hear of another major scandal that has taken place within Downing Street – and clearly the public have had enough.

“While we are delighted to see another strong poll for the SNP, we will take nothing for granted and continue to encourage people across Scotland that only independence will rid us of people like Boris Johnson once and for all.

“However, for as long as Scotland is under Tory and Westminster rule, we will always be vulnerable.

“Only with the full powers of independence can Scotland break free from the shackles of a sleaze-ridden, outdated Westminster system and finally begin to build a more progressive, fairer nation.”

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