Scotland’s first minister announces the SNP are seeking approval for second independence referendum vote
Nicola Sturgeon announced that the Scottish government plans to hold a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom, citing the UK Government’s lack of compromise over Brexit as the defining reason
Scotland’s first minister made the announcement in a speech Monday at Bute House, as MPs in Westminster prepared to give UK Prime Minister Theresa May the go-ahead to trigger Article 50 and begin the Brexit negotiations.
In her announcement, Sturgeon said: “If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as the EU and the single market then it is clear that our voice can be ignored at any time on any issue.”
The first minister added that she will ask the Scottish Parliament to request a section 30 order – an Order in Council needed to legislate for another independence referendum under the Scotland Act 1998 – next Tuesday and lodge an application to Westminster to authorise the referendum. Sturgeon suggested the vote could take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
“The option of no change is no longer available,” she added .
“But we will give the Scottish people a choice about the kind of change we want. I believe that it would be wrong for Scotland to be taken down a path that it has no control over regardless of the consequences for our economy, for our society, for our place in the world, for our very sense of who we are as a country. That would be wrong, and therefore my judgment is that we should have that choice.”
“I believe that in a referendum the Scottish people will opt for independence, but that will be the choice of the Scottish people and I’ve been very clear that that will be an informed choice.”
The reaction to a possible second independence referendum, which the SNP leveraged in their manifesto to win the Scottish Parliamentary elections last year, has been met with fierce opposition from the UK Government with May moving to block the proposals.
The PM insisted a repeat of the 2014 referendum, which the unionists won 55% to 45%, was not appropriate with the country trying to traverse a huge socio-political change following Brexit. She suggested the Scottish people deserve a fuller picture of what the UK will look like post-Brexit before making a decision on their future in the UK.
“Right now we should be working together, not pulling apart,” May told ITV News following Sturgeon’s announcement.
“We should be working together to get that right deal for Scotland, that right deal for the UK as I say that’s my job as Prime Minister and so for that reason I say to the SNP: now is not the time.”
The PM continued: “We should be working to get the right deal for Scotland and the UK with our future partnership with the European Union.
“It would be unfair to the people of Scotland at the moment that they would be asked to make a crucial decision without the information they need to make that decision.”
David Mundell, the Scottish secretary added: “This argument isn’t about mandates, it’s about holding a referendum on established criteria which were set on in the Edinburgh Agreement. That established that a referendum must be legal, fair and decisive.
“The proposal brought forward is not fair, people will not be able to make an informed choice. Neither is there public or political support for such a referendum.
“Therefore we will not be entering into discussions or negotiations about a section 30 agreement and any request at this time will be declined.”