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Second Scottish Independence Referendum Looms as Formal Brexit Negotiations Are Finally Set to Begin

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:26
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(Before It's News)

Monday, just after the U.K. parliament voted on whether to trigger trigger article 50 of the British constitution in order to begin the formal process of Brexit, the Scottish government threw a spanner in the works. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, announced she would seek to begin another process, very much inspired by the current U.K. negotiations to leave the European Union: a second Scottish Independence referendum.

The last one occurred in 2014, and the campaign for Scotland to remain a part of the U.K. won by a narrow margin. So what makes Sturgeon think she can win this time? The answer is in the Brexit pudding. You see, a majority of Scots voted for the U.K. to remain in the E.U. in the June, 2016 referendum that set Great Britain on this divisive course. Now the SNP seems confident that another independence referendum, based on the hope that Scotland could ultimately rejoin the E.U. as a separate entity from the rest of the U.K., would see similar results to the Brexit vote. And she may not be wrong.

From The Independent:

[Sturgeon] said the UK Government had “not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement” with the Scottish Government over Brexit and that even a good deal would be “significantly inferior” to the status quo. … In her announcement at Bute House, Ms Sturgeon said: “If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as the EU and the single market then it is clear that our voice can be ignored at any time and on any issue.”

The First Minister said the vote had to be held between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019 – before it was “too late” but after “the terms of Brexit are known”. The First Minister says she will apply to the UK Government to authorise the referendum but that it should respect the will of the Scottish Parliament.

Under the so-called “Section 30 order” used to a call a referendum the UK Parliament must authorise a poll – meaning Ms Sturgeon’s call could be blocked by Theresa May.

Theresa May has accused Sturgeon of playing politics with people’s lives—though that may sound strange to some who have watched May essentially leveraging the rights of E.U. nationals in the U.K. during the current Brexit negotiations.

Leader of the opposition, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, has stated his disapproval of scheduling another Scottish referendum so soon after the last, but has also said he would respect the Scots’ democratic rights.

With regards to Brexit, Members of Parliament in both the House of Commons and House of Lords voted on a bill Monday that will allow May to finally trigger article 50 within hours or days of the decision in order to start the 2-year clock on official U.K. negotiations to leave the E.U. The BBC reports that the bill “is expected to receive Royal Assent,” in other words formal approval from Queen Elizabeth II, and pass into law on Tuesday.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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