Nicola Sturgeon announces plans for Scottish referendum before Brexit

IndyRef2 will take place in autumn 2018 or spring 2019


Nicola Sturgeon has announced her intention to hold a second independence referendum, before the Brexit negotiations are completed in 2019.

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said she would act now to ensure the Scottish people had a choice at the end of the process, in the form of an independence referendum. The Scottish parliament will be asked to approve the plan next week.

She said that the earliest possible date for the referendum would be Autumn 2018, when the shape of the Brexit deal has become clear, adding that it would have to take place before the end of negotiations in April 2019.

A pro-independence campaign website has already been launched and nearly £20,000 has been raised on its crowdfunding platform.

Sturgeon said:

“I will now take the steps necessary to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process, a choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit or to become an independent country, able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe.

“The Scottish government’s mandate for offering this choice is beyond doubt. Last 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 EU against our will’.

“These conditions have, of course, now been met so I can confirm today that next week I will seek the authority of the Scottish Parliament to agree with the UK government the details of a section 30 order – the procedure that will enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum.”

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has condemned Sturgeon’s decision, and confirmed that her party will vote against holding a second referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also accused Sturgeon of inciting further division:
“Scotland is already divided enough. We do not want to be divided again, but that is exactly what another independence referendum would do. Two years ago, 85 per cent of Scotland’s voters took part in the independence referendum and the result was a clear vote to remain in the UK. With our country facing all of the uncertainty around the Tories’ reckless plans for a hard Brexit, the last thing we need is even more uncertainty and division.”
A UK government spokesperson commented:
“Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote. The evidence clearly shows that a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum. Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.”
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