Industry & Business

New independence referendum backed by Scottish parliament

New independence referendum backed by Scottish parliament

New independence referendum backed by Scottish parliament
March 29
09:00 2017

The Scottish parliament has voted to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s bid to hold a new independence referendum in late 2018 or 2019. Once the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU become clearer, Sturgeon will seek permission from the British parliament in London to press forward with preparations for a referendum.

Sturgeon has argued that because circumstances have changed since Scotland first voted against independence in 2014, another referendum should be held. The motion, put forward by Sturgeon, passed by 69 votes in favour and 59 votes against in the Scottish parliament.

The First Minister has insisted her referendum timetable would allow Scottish voters to make a choice when the terms of the UK’s exit deal become clear and before it is “too late to choose our own course”.

Speaking before the leaders’ meeting on Monday, Mrs May said her position will not change, arguing that a vote within Ms Sturgeon’s proposed time frame would be unfair to voters and come at a time when the focus should be on securing the best Brexit deal for the whole of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said she would delay making the section 30 request – the mechanism for the transfer of powers to hold the referendum – until ”later this week”. She said she ”hoped the UK Government would respect the will of the Scottish Parliament”, but if it does not she will set out her next steps after the Easter recess.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is now the will of Scotland’s democratically-elected national Parliament that discussions should begin with the UK Government to enable an independence referendum to be held.

“Today’s vote must now be respected. The mandate for a referendum is beyond question, and it would be democratically indefensible – and utterly unsustainable – to attempt to stand in the way of it.

“We will now act on the mandate given to us by Parliament by making a formal approach to the UK Government within the next few days, after Article 50 has been triggered. This is, first and foremost, about giving the people of Scotland a choice on this country’s future.

“The Prime Minister says that now is not the time for a referendum. I agree with that, which is why I have indicated a timescale no earlier than 18 months from now, when the terms of Brexit are clear – something the PM has now indicated she agrees with. It is up to the UK Government to now make clear when they consider a referendum would be appropriate.”

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