LONDON — Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she intends to trigger another referendum on Scottish referendum.
Speaking at Bute House, Edinburgh on Monday morning, the First Minister of Scotland said that she will begin the process of invoking section 30 next week — the legal mechanism of initiating an independence referendum.
The UK government will then need to decide whether to grant Sturgeon’s wish and authorise Scotland’s second independence referendum in less than five years.
Sturgeon told the press conference that she was doing the “right thing for the country” by giving Scots the opportunity to avoid dropping out of the European single market, referred to as “hard” Brexit.
The SNP leader said that Scotland’s requests relating to Britain’s exit from the European Union had hit a “brick wall,” the SNP leader said.
She accused the UK government of abandoning the “language of partnership” after talks between the Scottish administration and Theresa May’s government regarding Brexit had begun positively.
“I cannot pretend to the Scottish people that a compromise looks even remotely likely,” Sturgeon said.
She added that her “door will always be open to discussion” with May but will now seek to deliver another independence referendum unless Scotland is given a more favourable Brexit package.
Scotland voted to stay part of the United Kingdom in 2014 but Sturgeon vowed to give the country another opportunity to decide its future if May opted for a “hard Brexit” by taking Britain out of the single market.
Brexit is expected to officially get underway this week when MPs and Lords approve the passage of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. May has made it clear that she will remove the country from the single market.
Speaking in October before May announced her intention to end Britain’s single market membership, Sturgeon said:
“We will propose new powers to help keep Scotland in the single market even if the UK leaves. But if the Tory government rejects these efforts — if it insists on taking Scotland down a path that hurts our economy, costs jobs, lowers our living standards and damages our reputation as an open, welcoming, diverse country — then be in no doubt.”
“Scotland must have the ability to choose a better future. And I will make sure that Scotland gets that chance.”
Scots voted to remain in the European Union by 62% to 38% in the June referendum.
The First Minister had triggered huge speculation that she plans to call another independence referendum last week when she publicly described autumn 2018 as a “common sense” time to hold it another Scotland-wide vote.
Speaking on Monday morning, she reaffirmed her belief that autumn 2018 is the best time for another referendum to be held, as it would take place midway through Brexit talks when Scots would a clearer picture of what leaving the European Union will mean for them.
A poll published last week put support for Scottish independence at its highest level since the weeks immediately following the Brexit vote. “Yes” was level with “No” on 50%, according to Ipsos MORI.
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