Nicola Sturgeon has contrasted her desire for a “lawful” second vote on Scottish independence with the Prime Minister “breaking the law” by reneging on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Scottish First Minister said this highlights the “difference” between herself and Boris Johnson “on the big matters of the constitution”.
The comments came the day after Ms Sturgeon outlined plans to hold a second vote on Scottish independence on October 19, 2023.
With the UK Government refusing to grant consent for such a ballot to be held, Ms Sturgeon is asking Supreme Court judges to rule if Holyrood can hold a referendum without the backing of Westminster.
In a statement at Holyrood on Tuesday, the SNP leader insisted “now is the time for independence” as she outlined her plans to MSPs.
Mr Johnson, however, argued the UK is “able to have a stronger economy and a stronger country together”.
Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon agreed with the Prime Minister when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have started the “crazy, macho” war in Ukraine if he were a woman.
Speaking after the G7 summit in Bavaria, Mr Johnson told German broadcaster ZDF: “If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has.
“If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it’s what he’s doing in Ukraine.”
Asked about the PM’s comments, Ms Sturgeon told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that “Putin is a war criminal and a war monger”, adding “toxic masculinity is very much part and parcel of that, so I agree with that”.
She continued: “I also do perhaps unusually agree with Boris Johnson that the world would be a better place if there more women in positions of leaders.
“Not that women don’t make mistakes but I do think women tend to bring perhaps a bit more common sense and emotional intelligence and more of a reasoned approach to decisions.
“Take the difference between me and Boris Johnson on the big matters of the constitution. He is breaking the law to renege on the Northern Ireland Protocol, I am being very clear that any vote on independence has to be lawful.
“More women in leadership would be a good thing, including in the UK, so maybe it is another reason why he should do the right thing and step aside.”
Ms Sturgeon insisted “the time is right for Scotland to debate and decide independence because we have been taken down the wrong path by Westminster governments”.
She argued that at a “key moment in history”, Scotland would fare better if it was able to make its own decisions.
Ms Sturgeon stated: “Over generations we have paid a price for not being independent, many comparable countries across Europe are doing better economically and socially because they can tailor decisions to their own circumstances.
“Right now of course we are out of the European Union against our will, that is contributing to one of the worst cost-of-living crises in the whole of the developed world, we’re seeing Westminster Government decisions push children into poverty, the powers of the Scottish Parliament being curtailed by Westminster governments.
“This is a key moment in history, the world faces big challenges, my argument is Scotland will navigate those challenges better if we are equipped with the full powers and resources and levers that independent countries across the world take for granted.”
In 2014, Scots voted to stay part of the UK, but Ms Sturgeon highlighted that decision was made “almost a decade ago”.
She added: “The world has changed dramatically in the years since, not least here in the UK. Back then we were told independence would take us out of the European Union, we have now been dragged out of the European Union because we are not independent.
“Democracy is not a fixed moment in time. People in a democracy have the right to change their minds when circumstances change.”
The First Minister went on to tell BBC Breakfast that an independent Scotland could “help make the world a better place”.
She said: “In terms of the global situation, it is not being independent that has taken Scotland out of Europe. I would want to see an independent Scotland back in Europe, co-operating with others to help make the world a better place, standing up for those principles of liberal democracy and freedom.”
She went on to argue plans for a referendum are “about seeking to do the right thing for Scotland”.
Ms Sturgeon insisted: “People in Scotland must have the ability to express their views on independence. Otherwise we have a situation where the UK is not the democratic, voluntary union of nations we have always been told it is.
“Instead it becomes a construct in which Scottish democracy becomes a prisoner of the UK prime minister.
“Whatever we think on independence, that cannot be right. And what we’re now seeing in Scotland is not just an independence movement, it is a democracy movement.
“Because whether you are Yes or No to independence I think the vast majority of people accept that that is a decision that can only be taken by the people of Scotland.”