- Scotland independence referendum; new looming risk?
The first referendum that allowed Scottish voters to decide if they wanted to break free from the U.K. was held in 2014, a mere two years before the historic EU referendum. The government under then-Prime Minister David Cameron pledged better understanding for Scots from Westminster and “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament.
The party leading the independence campaign; the Scottish National Party (SNP), had full confidence that the country would survive and even be better off outside the U.K., strengthened by the nation’s oil fields in the North Sea, its world-famous malt whiskey, textiles, jet engines, and various banking and financial services.
However, in the first referendum, the majority of Scots rejected separation from the rest of the U.K., as over two million votes, equivalent to 55.3%, were cast in favor of remaining part of the kingdom, while the lesser 44.7% or 1.62 million voted for independence.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Scottish Tories have repeatedly rejected the idea of a second referendum - indyref2 — and claimed the 2014 referendum was a “once in a lifetime” event that proved Scots prefer the union.
On Jan. 14, Britain’s government officially refused the local Scottish government’s request for a power transfer to hold a second independence referendum, a move that in the short term could cause problems between Edinburgh and London.
Publishing a letter he penned in response to the request from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Johnson said he could not agree to such a transfer of power to hold referendums, arguing that it would not be right to essentially repeat the 2014 referendum just six years later.