London, Dec 14 (IANS) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to embark on a “charm offensive” in Scotland after his faltering popularity in the country gifted the Scottish National Party (SNP) a landslide victory, a media report said on Saturday.
In Thursday’s general election, the Johnson-led Conservatives lost seven of their seats to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in a “watershed” moment that has re-ignited calls for a second independence referendum, the Daily Mail said in the report.
The SNP took 48 of the country’s 59 Westminster seats in the General Election, with Glasgow turning all yellow for the first time and former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson losing her own East Dunbartonshire constituency.
The Prime Minister is said to be “determined” to sort out the situation in Scotland and was planning to travel north of the border in the hope of winning over sceptical voters.
The Scottish nationalists have said they would formally request the powers for Holyrood to hold a ballot despite winning only 45 per cent of the country’s vote.
On Friday, Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would “publish the detailed democratic case for a transfer of power to enable a referendum to be put beyond legal challenge”.
But the Prime Minister has continued to play down such a move and said the result of the original vote five years ago “should be respected”.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon earlier this evening, where he reiterated his unwavering commitment to strengthening the union.
“On Brexit, the Prime Minister said that he is now in a position to get this done in a way that allows the whole of the UK to move forward together, providing certainty for Scottish businesses and improving the lives of people right across Scotland.
“The Prime Minister made clear how he remained opposed to a second independence referendum, standing with the majority of people in Scotland who do not want to return to division and uncertainty.
“He added how the result of the 2014 referendum was decisive and should be respected.”
The first referendum took place in 2014 as voters rejected independence by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
Recent opinion polls have suggested that the split remains roughly the same as it was five years ago.