Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon’s is expected to emerge again as the largest party in the Scottish Parliament after the election, but it wants to win an overall majority of MSPs as it pushes for a second independence referendum – something polls suggest remains in the balance.
Results are expected to be announced today and tomorrow.
Johnson has refused to countenance another referendum, setting up the potential for constitutional fireworks over the coming years if Ms Sturgeon gains the outcome she desires.
The SNP leader insisted her focus would be on tackling the coronavirus and rebuilding the economy.
But she said that “when the Covid crisis has passed, we will give the people of Scotland the opportunity to decide if they want the recovery to be in the hands of the likes of Boris Johnson and the austerity-driven Tories, or to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands with independence”.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said this morning: “We do not want to see Scotland, or indeed any part of the UK, now embroiled in a highly divisive and distracting constitutional wrangle.”
Results of the elections – which also include the Welsh Parliament, police and crime commissioners and English local authorities and mayors – are expected to continue filtering through until Monday as counting will take longer than normal due to coronavirus restrictions.
In Wales, Mark Drakeford hopes to maintain Labour’s grip on the Senedd – but he may find himself forced to forge a new coalition to stay as First Minister.
That could mean talks with Plaid Cymru, whose leader Adam Price has committed to an independence referendum within five years if his party wins a majority.