21:15 GMT24 February 2021
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    Boris Johnson headed to Scotland on Thursday in a bid to put a halt to growing calls for another independence vote in the constituent country, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the benefits of staying united.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently on a visit to Scotland, has stated that the Scots already went to a referendum back in 2014, and now want to focus on issues that matter. He noted that the very same people who have been calling for another popular vote claimed at the time that the 2014 one was a "once in a generation event".

    The prime minister insisted that the "endless talk" about a potential referendum is completely irrelevant to a majority of people.

    "I don't think that the right thing to do is to talk endlessly about another referendum when I think what the people of the country and the people of Scotland want in particular is to fight this pandemic," Johnson said.

    "I don't see the advantage of getting lost in pointless constitutional wrangling when after all we had a referendum not so very long ago," he said.

    Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called out Johnson’s trip, questioning whether his reasons for visiting the constituent country are “really essential” and arguing it could be misinterpreted by the public.

    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during an event at the Ozone, Our Dynamic Earth, in Edinburgh, Friday Jan. 31, 2020, to outline Scottish independence plans on the day that the UK is set to leave the European Union
    © AP Photo / Jane Barlow
    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during an event at the Ozone, Our Dynamic Earth, in Edinburgh, Friday Jan. 31, 2020, to outline Scottish independence plans on the day that the UK is set to leave the European Union

    Spike in Demands for Independence Vote

    According to the latest opinion polls, a majority of Scots would back independence, although Johnson has repeatedly said that now is not the time for a new referendum that could end the 314-year-old union of England and Scotland.

    Scotland voted against independence by some 55% to 45% in a 2014 poll. However, in the subsequent 2016 Brexit vote, most Scots also backed remaining a part of the European Union, sparking demands for a new independence vote after the UK as a whole ultimately chose to leave the bloc.

    British Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove commented on the persistent calls by Scottish nationalists, saying they are a massive distraction from more pressing problems, like the government's battle against COVID-19 and post-Brexit "teething issues".

    “At the moment, when we are prioritising the fight against the disease and also the need for economic recovery in due course, talking about changing the constitution and so on is just a massive distraction”, Gove told Sky News, referring to Johnson as the ideal frontman for keeping the union intact.

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    PM Johnson Says 'Endless Talk' About Scotland’s Referendum Now Irrelevant to Most People
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    Scotland, Britain, UK, Boris Johnson
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