Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a second Scottish Independence referendum, in a key speech in Edinburgh, on Monday morning. The announcement came as Theresa May is ready to launch the Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
Sturgeon intends to appear at the Scottish Parliament, in Holyrood, next week to ask for an approval of a second referendum. Sturgeon was asked if the question will be a Yes or No type and she answered that “I don’t see any reason why the question should be different as it was last time but this has to be decided.” Last week, Sturgeon had talked to the BBC about the need of holding a referendum in autumn 2018, when details of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union will be more clear.
Sturgeon repeated that it is the Scottish National Party’s longstanding policy that Scotland remains in the EU and that an alternative would mean that the country wouldn’t control its future. Scotland’s First Minister attacked British prime minister Theresa May saying that “the UK government has not been willing to meet Scotland half way. In fact, they have been moving further away.” and added that she doesn’t have any information on when May is going to trigger Article 50.
Sturgeon explained to the journalists that “if I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding unilaterally that Scotland would be following the UK into Brexit. That should not be a decision for a single politician.” The 47-year old politician attacked Westminster for being more assertive about wanting to retain its powers and wondered on what kind of country will the UK become if there will be the rule of Tories is prolonged.
The First Minister expressed the belief that Westminster officials are not going to block a second Scottish Independence referendum but she didn’t have an answer on how much time would be needed for the negotiations. Journalist asked her if having a new referendum will harm business in Scotland and Sturgeon answered clearly that “Brexit has already created uncertainty.”
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, announced that the Conservatives are going to vote against holding a second referendum. More specific she said that “Sturgeon has chosen today the path of further division and uncertainty. We will vote against any request for Section 30 next week.” Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, commenting on Sturgeon’s will said that “it would be wrong to hold another referendum so soon and Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament.”
A Downing Street announcement that was released described a second referendum as “divisive and causing great economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.” According to political analysts, staging a referendum should get Westminster’s approval under the Section 30 of the Scotland’s Act to do so. Then, the two governments would have to sign a second Edinburg agreement, just like they did in 2012, before the 2014 referendum. Margaritis Schinas, an EU Commission spokesman, repeated that in case Scotland becomes independent the Barroso doctrine continues to apply, meaning that the country should apply to enter the EU.