Ian Blackford: SNP will demand independence once Covid is beaten

9 May 2021, 13:56 | Updated: 11 May 2021, 07:33

By Seán Hickey

The SNP Westminster leader tells LBC his party will push for a second independence referendum once the pandemic is over.

Ian Blackford was reflecting on his party's achievements in the election, winning the "highest number of constituency wins for any party in the history of devolution."

The leader of the SNP insisted that the substantial support for his party was a return for successfully managing the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More: 'Less sneering' from metropolitan Labour will win back northern seats, Maajid Nawaz insists

"People need to recognise as well that the parliament does have a mandate for an independence referendum," he added.

He told Tom Swarbrick that once the pandemic has been well and truly dealt with the Scottish government must "allow people to have that discussion about the future."

He went on to explain that the SNP will not campaign for independence just yet out of respect for the pandemic effort: "We will work with Westminster...but there has to be mutual respect."

Read More: PM invites devolved leaders to summit on Covid recovery and 'Team UK'

Tom took exception with Mr Blackford's claims. "The SNP failed to win a majority and the majority of Scottish votes went to pro-uk parties, how is that a mandate for another referendum?"

Read More: Labour hold on to power in Wales with Mark Drakeford set to continue as First Minister

The SNP MP drew parallels with Boris Johnson's ability to deliver Brexit, despite only gaining some 40% of the popular vote in 2019.

"There's a pro-independence majority in the parliament," Mr Blackford insisted, reiterating that there would be no advocating for independence until after Covid.

"The Scottish government had a manifesto commitment" he stressed, but told Tom that "what we need to do of course is to come through the Covid pandemic."

"This will be done on constitutional means" Mr Blackford concluded.