BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg warns Boris could face his ‘biggest constitutional headache’ soon

Laura Kuennsberg says Johnson could face constitutional 'headache’

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Laura Kuenssberg suggested an overwhelming victory for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP could lead to serious constitutional debates because of the First Minister’s demands for a new Scottish independence referendum. Boris Johnson has already denied Ms Sturgeon’s demands for a new poll in 2020 but commentators have noted a similar refusal would be difficult should the SNP snatch a majority of seats in Holyrood. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Kuenssberg said: “Really, really crucial vote, in Scotland in particular, that could open up a whole big tangle over the constitution.

“It could become Boris Johnson’s biggest headache very quickly if Nicola Sturgeon hits the magic number of 65 seats and then starts demanding another vote on independence.

“Equally, a very important contest in Wales where, during the pandemic, people really had a good look at what the meaning of devolution was.

“Those powers that are held by Cardiff, the First Minister there really front and centre in a way people, perhaps, hadn’t seen before.”

She added: “Right to say, at this point, there’s a lot still to come and the picture might look quite different in the next few days.”

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Due to COVID-19 restrictions still in place, there is a staggered tallying up of ballots for the 2021 Holyrood election.

Results for the whole of Scotland are not expected to come in until Saturday but 46 out of the 73 constituency seats could declare as early as Friday evening.

Normally, counting begins immediately after the polls close at 10pm and continues overnight, with results confirmed in the early hours.

But the need for social distancing among count staff has meant votes will be tallied from Friday.

This year’s election, while conducted under the constraints of coronavirus rules, is also considered to be one of the most important since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

Ahead of the vote, Nicola Sturgeon described the election as the most important in her country’s history.

The First Minister vowed to demand legal powers for a referendum on Scottish independence by the end of 2023 if the SNP win a majority in the 129-seat devolved parliament in Edinburgh.

Opinion polls suggest her party will win a fourth term in office but they also indicate a recent dip in support, suggesting that her chances of winning an outright majority are too close to call accurately.

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The Prime Minister already said he would reject any request as Conservatives consider the matter settled in a 2014 referendum.

But an emphatic SNP victory would pile pressure on him, analysts say.

In the 2014 referendum, Scots voted by 55-45 percent to remain in the more than 300-year-old union.

However, Britain’s departure from the European Union against the wishes of most Scots, a perception that Sturgeon handled the COVID-19 crisis well, and antipathy to Johnson’s government in London have bolstered support for going it alone.

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