British PM Boris Johnson battling to remain in office cites "unprecedented challenges at home and abroad" to dismiss Scotland leader Nicola Sturgeon's demand.

Scotland's Sturgeon has announced plans for a second independence referendum to be held on October 2023 and vowed to take legal action if the British government blocks it.
Scotland's Sturgeon has announced plans for a second independence referendum to be held on October 2023 and vowed to take legal action if the British government blocks it. (Reuters Archive)

It is not the time to revisit the question of a vote on Scottish independence, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said in a letter to Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

"As our country faces unprecedented challenges at home and abroad, I cannot agree that now is the time to return to a question, which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014," Johnson said on Wednesday in a letter responding to Scottish leader on the government website

Last week, Sturgeon announced plans for a second independence referendum to be held on October 2023 and vowed to take legal action if the British government blocks it.

She also said the referendum must be lawful and the Scottish government will reveal what it is going to do if the local Westminster government blocks such a vote.

In response to Johnson's letter, Sturgeon said on Twitter: "To be clear, Scotland will have the opportunity to choose independence - I hope in a referendum on 19 October 2023 but, if not, through a general election. Scottish democracy will not be a prisoner of this or any PM."

READ MORE: Scotland leader launches campaign for second independence vote

Divided stance on independence 

The first referendum that asked Scottish voters whether they want to break free from the UK was a mere two years before the historic Brexit vote.

The government under then-prime minister David Cameron pledged a better understanding for Scots from Westminster and "extensive new powers" for the Scottish parliament.

Sturgeon's Scottish National Party had full confidence that the country would survive, and even be better outside the UK, strengthened by the nation's oil fields in the North Sea, textiles, jet engines, and various banking and financial services.

The idea, however, was rejected by Scots, as just over 2 million votes (55.3 percent) were cast to remain part of the UK, while 1.62 million (44.7 percent) people voted for independence.

READ MORE: Sturgeon: Scotland's independence from UK 'is in clear sight'

Source: TRTWorld and agencies