Sturgeon to seek second independence vote for Scotland

13 Mar 17

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is to seek approval for a second independence referendum, which could take place as soon as autumn next year.

In a speech this morning, Sturgeon said attempts to compromise with the UK government on Brexit terms for Scotland had been met with “a brick wall of intransigence”.

As such, she said it was vital for Scotland to be able to have a choice, via a referendum, when a deal for the UK was agreed with the EU.

Sturgeon stopped short of naming a date for the referendum, but said it must take place while there was still time for Scotland to remain within the bloc. She suggested the most likely time would between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

The Scottish first minister has sought guarantees from prime minister Theresa May, that Scotland be allowed to remain within the European single market, even if the rest of the UK leaves. Although these guarantees have not yet been forthcoming, Sturgeon confirmed she was still open to negotiations with Westminster.

In the previous independence referendum in September 2014, Scotland voted to remain part of the UK by a majority of 55-45%.

However, in the ‘Brexit’ referendum less than a year later, the nation voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining inside the EU, by a majority of 62-38%. This clear majority was rendered purely symbolic after the UK as a whole voted in favour of Brexit by 51.9 - 48.1%.

It is anticipated that Theresa May will be able to trigger the Article 50 process within days, with the bill receiving royal assent as early as Tuesday. This will mark the beginning of a two-year negotiation process with the rest of the European Union on the terms of Britain’s exit. 

Over the weekend, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared to lend his support to the idea of a second referendum for Scotland saying such a vote would be “absolutely fine”. These comments drew sharp criticism from the Labour Party in Scotland, which is opposed to another referendum.

Corbyn has since clarified his views, claiming he is against the idea.

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