BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty clashed with the SNP’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney over the party’s hopes for an independence referendum. Ms Munchetty pointed out that the SNP “had failed” to win two key target seats following Thursday’s election. She disputed Mr Swinney’s claims that Scottish voters had delivered an “emphatic victory” in support of independence.
Mr Swinney said: “At the right moment we will move onto having a referendum on independence.
“The people of Scotland look to me to have voted emphatically for that in the election.
“They have given an emphatic support to members committed to that objective.”
Ms Munchetty hit back: “Using the word emphatic is interesting because you failed to get two key target seats – Dumbarton which was Labour and Eastwood which was Conservative.”
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She continued: “Observers say that is because there was a reaction against the move towards a second referendum, and that unionist voters showed their hand.”
Mr Swinney responded: “The SNP gained three seats yesterday – the Conservatives lost two, Labour lost one. So that suggests the SNP is doing very well!”
Ms Munchetty said: “But you didn’t get the two you targeted.
“There were union voters showing their objection to the SNP’s commitment to independence. Shouldn’t you listen to them?”
Speaking to The Telegraph, the Prime Minister made it clear he would reject calls for a second Scottish independence referendum if Nicola Sturgeon secured another term in office.
He said: “I listened to the Scottish election carefully. My impression was that they [the SNP] moved away from the idea of a referendum, and I think very wisely.
“Because I don’t think this is anything like the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to be talking about ripping our country apart, when actually people want to heal our economy and bounce forward together. That’s what people want.”
Ms Sturgeon had vowed to demand the legal powers for a second referendum on Scottish independence be transferred from Westminster by the end of 2023 if the SNP wins a majority.
However, Sir John Curtice said the SNP leader is tipped to get 64 seats – one short of an outright majority.