Johnson heads to Scotland to battle independence calls

Britain’s PM Boris Johnson will travel today to Scotland in a bid to quell calls for a second independence vote, news wires reported. While in 2014, Scotland voted against independence, ties with London have strained since the 2016 Brexit vote to. Then the majority of Scots voted to stay in the EU as most of the UK voted to leave.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on relations between the North and the South of Britain. As Johnson was set for a visit, Scotland's leader, Nicola Sturgeon, questioned whether the trip was "really essential" during a lockdown. The semi-autonomous administration has had a large say in dictating Scotland's own response, often pitting it against central government in London.

In Scotland, the PM will highlight the role his government played in providing Covid-19 tests, setting up vaccine centres and subsidising those who are unable to go to work. "The great benefits of cooperation across the whole of the UK have never been clearer than since the beginning of this pandemic," he will say, according to his office.

Sturgeon is hoping a strong performance by her Scottish National Party, (SNP in May elections for the country's devolved Parliament would give her the mandate to hold a second referendum on independence. Scotland voted against independence by 55% to 45% in the 2014 referendum. But recent polls showing Scotland would vote to leave the union in any re-run.

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