Europe

Scottish leader presses case on new independence vote

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says last week's election result gives Scots mandate to hold new independence vote

Ahmet Gürhan Kartal   | 19.12.2019
Scottish leader presses case on new independence vote

LONDON 

Scotland’s first minister on Thursday called for the central Westminster government to transfer powers to the local parliament to open the way for a second independence referendum.

Speaking in Edinburgh presenting a paper called “Scotland's Right to Choose,” Nicola Sturgeon said she would be sending the document and a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson again stressing that last week’s election result effectively guaranteeing Brexit will happen has given them a mandate for a new referendum.

The paper underlines a “material change of circumstance” since the 2014 vote on Scottish independence, pointing to “the prospect of Scotland leaving the EU against its will and what the EU exit has revealed about Scotland’s position within the UK.”

The Scottish National Party (SNP) had the second referendum proposal, or indyref2, in their manifesto and won 48 of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster last week.

“I’m going to stand my ground. I fully expect today we will get the flat no of Westminster opposition but that will not be the end of the matter and Boris Johnson should not be under any illusion that it is,” Sturgeon said.


'Scotland cannot be imprisoned'

Sturgeon’s speech coincided with the queen's speech and a Scottish Parliament vote on the Referendums (Scotland) Bill, which will outline parameters for future votes.

“You cannot hold Scotland in the [U.K.] union against its will. You cannot just lock us in a cupboard and turn the key and hope everything goes away. If the United Kingdom is to continue then it can only be by consent,” she said last Sunday.

“If Boris Johnson is confident in the case for the union, then he should be confident enough to make that case and allow the people to decide. Scotland cannot be imprisoned in the U.K. against its will.”

The first referendum that asked Scottish voters whether they would want to break free from the U.K. was held in 2014, two years before the historic EU referendum.

The government under then-Prime Minister David Cameron pledged had "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament.

Scots rejected separation from the rest of the U.K., as just over 2 million votes (55.3%) were cast to remain part of the kingdom, while 1.62 million (44.7%) people voted for independence.

According to most recent polls, support for independence is around 48%.

Johnson and the Scottish Tories have repeatedly rejected the idea of indyref2, calling the 2014 referendum a “once in a lifetime” event that proved Scots prefer the union.

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