Scottish lawmakers back Nicola Sturgeon's call for new referendum on independence
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 3:49
The Scottish parliament had been due to vote on Sturgeon's referendum demand last week, but the session was adjourned after Wednesday's extremist attack in London.
It went down significantly less well in Westminster, where Scottish secretary David Mundell built on May's previous position that "now is not the time".
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has now got the mandate to ask the British government for an independence referendum but it could take up to six years before she can hold one.
On Wednesday, Ms. May will trigger Article 50, the formal mechanism that will officially kick off the process of Britain's withdrawing from the EU.
According to the 1998 Scotland Act, the British government may provide Scotland with an opportunity to hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom in case the Scottish parliament and both chambers of the UK parliament back this initiative.
The resolution, which will be adopted next week in Strasbourg, states that in the referendum in 2016 a "large number of United Kingdom citizens, including a majority in Northern Ireland and Scotland, voted to remain in the European Union".
In 2014, Scotland voted 55 percent in favor of staying in the United Kingdom.
While May fights for the deal, Sturgeon pushes for the referendum.
The British prime minister's office hasn't ruled out a second referendum, but it has rejected the proposed timetable. The Scottish motion calls for a vote by spring 2019. If it does so, I will enter discussion in good faith and with willingness to compromise.
The power-sharing arrangement between the Democratic Unionist Party and Irish nationalists Sinn Fein collapsed in January, prompting a snap election. Tellingly, the government is tonight ruling out talks on another referendum until the Brexit process is complete-which could easily be after 2021 and the next Scottish parliament elections.
"That change should not be imposed upon us", she said.
Scotland's economic hand was strengthened on Monday when exploration firm Hurricane Energy announced the "largest undeveloped discovery" of oil in British waters, located west of the Scottish Shetland Islands.
On immigration, 64 percent of Scots said European Union and non-EU immigrants should be subject to the same controls, versus 68 percent across Britain.
Sitting in front of a lone Union Jack national flag and a portrait of Britain's first prime minister, Robert Walpole, a serene-looking May signed the letter to begin the country's departure from the European Union. "At this crucial time we should be working together, not pulling apart", concludes London.