Nicola Sturgeon warns the UK government against "trying to puncture Scotland’s life boat" by blocking indyref2

Written by Liam Kirkady on 13 March 2017 in News
News

Nicola Sturgeon has outlined plans to hold a second independence referendum between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

Nicola Sturgeon | Photo credit: Press Association


This article was originally published on our sister website Holyrood.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned the UK government against blocking or delaying her plans to hold a second independence referendum before the UK leaves the EU, with the First Minister saying it would be "tantamount to the UK government, having sunk the ship with the Brexit vote, trying to puncture Scotland's life boat as well."

Speaking on Monday, the Scottish First Minister outlined her intention to seek approval from the Scottish Parliament to ask for a Section 30 order from the UK government order next week and then hold a second independence referendum between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

Sturgeon said the vote should take place before Brexit, saying, "For Scotland to be in a position to negotiate in a timely fashion our own relationship with Europe it is important we indicate that desire and intention before the UK leaves, or at the very least at a short time frame after they do so."


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But with the Scottish government requiring approval from the UK government to hold a second vote, British Prime Minister Theresa May has not stated whether or not she would grant permission for another referendum.

Responding to Sturgeon's speech, a spokesperson for May said polls "clearly showed a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum."

But the First Minister rejected the idea Theresa May could seek to delay the process until after the UK has left the EU.

Sturgeon said, "I do not think it would be acceptable for the UK government to take that view [to delay a referendum until after the UK leaves the EU]. In principle, we set a precedent in 2014 that the details of an independence referendum should be for the people of Scotland to decide, and should be decided in Scotland. That is the principled argument. It should be for the Scottish Parliament, incidentally not the Scottish government, but the Scottish Parliament.

"I have set out very clearly today that in order to do what I have set out to do, I need the authority of the Scottish Parliament and I will seek that next week. If the Scottish Parliament gives me that authority then I believe that should be respected by the UK government.

"I have set out that it is really important that before people in Scotland are asked to make this choice they have clarity about Brexit and what Brexit means and I accept that. But equally, if we are to have a genuine choice with the ability to choose a different course then we can't leave that choice until it is too late for that to happen. That is why I have set out the window in the way I have today.

"For the UK government to say they are not going to permit that to happen in that window, broadly speaking, would be compromising the ability of the Scottish government - if people in Scotland opted for this - to choose a different future and to negotiate a different relationship with Europe. It would be tantamount to the UK government, having sunk the ship with the Brexit vote, trying to puncture Scotland's life boat as well."

 

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Liam Kirkady is a reporter for Holyrood

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