His £5 million advertising campaign above the border is proof he is ready for a tough fight, according to Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Ms Sturgeon. In an interview with The Sunday Times, the First Minister slapped down the notion that fighting for Scottish independence was a waste of her time, after the Prime Minister formally refused her request to hold a public vote on independence this year. She claimed Mr Johnson was in fact “one of the biggest recruiting sergeants” for the independence cause.
Speaking about his planned advertising campaign to push a pro-union message at Scots, she said: “He wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t know that, should support for independence keep rising, he can’t block the right of people in Scotland to choose.
“Somebody who thinks they can forever block the choice being made wouldn’t be feeling the need to spend lots of money trying to persuade people of the choice they should make.
“So, for the independence movement, the challenge is clear: keep support rising.”
Earlier this month, it emerged that Mr Johnson had planned to “love-bomb” voters above the border.
The Times reported he would roll out an extensive advertising campaign worth millions of pounds to win over Scots who are sceptical of their place in the union following Brexit.
He was said to have adverts on television, radio, cinema and digital platforms in mind to reach voters.
His campaign proves he was scared of the prospect of Scots opting for independence, claimed Ms Sturgeon.
The SNP leader branded the Prime Minister a “democracy denier” and said his actions would fuel extra support for the cause closest to her heart.
In January he refused to grant Holyrood legal powers to hold a second referendum.
“He is a democracy denier,” said Ms Sturgeon.
“And while I can be impatient, I know that how he is behaving will ultimately drive people towards the independence cause.
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“Boris Johnson is one of the biggest recruiting sergeants for independence there is at the moment.”
Despite the setback, she believes “a referendum can absolutely happen this year”.
Last week her party’s main rivals, the Scottish Tories, named Jackson Carlaw as their new leader.
He has vowed to “take down” Ms Sturgeon in next year’s Scottish parliamentary elections.
The Scottish Tories have in recent months accused the First Minister of using the independence debate to deflect from growing problems at home
Mr Carlaw said the nationalists are “failing” Scotland after 13 years in office.
He said the SNP are “there to be replaced and I am determined Scottish Conservatives will do that”.
Mr Jackson insisted he has a clear mandate from the party to “make the changes required to lead us into the election next year”.
He added: “This is not about asking the people of Scotland to re-elect us as a strong opposition, this is about offering the people of Scotland a clear alternative to the SNP and then fighting all the way to polling day next year to provide them with an alternative government.”
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