Scotland will seek to hold a second referendum on independence within two years, according to its First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, which will effectively question Scotland’s future in the United Kingdom as London prepares to finally trigger Article 50 and negotiate a goodbye deal with Brussels. Mrs. Sturgeon said that she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week to authorize her to start off negotiations with the British government in London on holding a second referendum on leaving the UK.
The move was not expected, although Ms. Sturgeon hinted immediately following the UK-wide referendum on leaving the EU that she would consider another vote on Scottish independence. Scots voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Ms. Sturgeon is aiming to hold a referendum between the fall of 2018 – when the conditions of the UK’s leaving the EU are broadly defined – and spring 2019 – when the UK formally leaves the EU. “It is important that Scotland is able to exercise the right to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide on our own path,” Ms. Sturgeon said.
In September 2014, Scots voted 55% to 45% to stay in the kingdom. Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) has since then consolidated its position in the Scottish politics as the largest and strongest party. The UK government must approve of the Scottish vote to make the result legally binding but observers suppose that this might be difficult precisely because of the SNP’s electoral heft in Scotland. British Prime Minister Theresa May could hardly hide her irritation when talking to journalists of the BBC when she said that the SNP’s “tunnel vision” over independence could easily fuel more uncertainty and division. “Politics is not a game,” she wrapped up.