'Now not the time' for independence vote

17 March, 2017, 01:19 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon center gestures as she sits with Lord Advocate James Wolffe left Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans and Deputy First Minister John Swinney right during a Scottish Government cabinet meeting in Bute House Edinbu

Some 55 per cent of Scottish voters chose "no" in a binding 2014 referendum asking whether the nation should be independent, but a clause behind that vote stipulated that Edinburgh could call a second vote if Scotland's circumstances - such as its European Union status - changed.

The new referendum could take place between the autumn of 2018 and spring 2019.

"People in Scotland don't share SNP tunnel vision obsession with independence".

He spoke out after Prime Minister Theresa May made clear Scotland would be leaving the European Union (EU) as a result of the Brexit vote - regardless of whether or not it becomes independent.

"Over the past few months we have worked hard, really hard, to try and find agreement, the Prime Minister and her government have been given every opportunity to compromise", she said.

May added: "I say to the SNP, now is not the time". Previous year we were elected with the highest share of the constituency vote own by any party in the history of devolution on a manifesto that said this - "the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the European Union against our will".

But as news broke that Ms May is planning to spend the next two weeks touring Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland in an attempt to build support for triggering Article 50, Mr Robertson still appeared to pitch Scottish independence as representing the opposite to Brexit.

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Next week, MSPs are due to debate a request for a Section 30 order to transfer power for the vote to the Scottish Parliament.

Some 52 per cent of the United Kingdom electorate voted to leave European Union in the June 2016 vote, but only 38 per cent of voting Scots shared that perspective.

Her Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, has tweeted that holding a referendum before Brexit would be "not fair and can't be agreed".

Although May has yet to indicate how she would respond to a referendum request, commentators at Westminster are predicting that May will not pave the way for a second referendum until Brexit negotiations have been finalized. Sturgeon has reportedly pursued a deal that would allow Scotland to remain in the E.U but has described May's response to that as a "brick wall of intransigence".

The first minister said another referendum is needed to protect Scottish interests, which are threatened by the UK's move to leave the EU.

Sturgeon fought for having the United Kingdom remain in the single market, or sought an outcome that would at least allow Scotland to do so.

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