LONDON: Scotland on Wednesday published a draft bill that would legislate the second referendum for independence from the U.K. in the case Brexit carves it out from the EU.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence vote before 2021 would give the country “the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation – rather than have a Brexit future imposed upon us.”
The second independence referendum (indyref2) bill was published after the Scottish National Party (SNP) received favorable result in last week’s European election.
The SNP received 38 % of votes. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that we keep Scotland’s options open so that people have the opportunity to choose a better future,” Sturgeon said, reiterating her stance on renewing the independence referendum. “We will seek agreement to a transfer of power at an appropriate point to enable an independence referendum that is beyond challenge to be held later in this parliament,” Sturgeon said.
“It is essential the UK government recognises that it would be a democratic outrage if it seeks to block such a referendum – indeed, any such stance would, in my view, prove to be utterly unsustainable.”
Sturgeon had said shortly after the 2016 EU referendum where the British voters decided to leave the EU that her country would not be dragged out from the EU against its people’s will.
Scotland voted to remain in the EU with a crushing 62% of overall votes in 2016.
The proposed bill is likely to become law by the end of 2019, as there is a majority in the Scottish Parliament to hold for the indyref2.
Any referendum decision by the devolved Scottish government will need confirmation from Westminster to go ahead. The outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May has principally rejected the idea for indyref2, saying the Scottish people made their decision in 2014 in a once in a lifetime event.
Scottish people said they would like to remain part of the U.K. in 2014 indyref in a 55-44% vote.
Sturgeon and other pro-independence politicians say people were made false promises before 2014 referendum and Brexit would tarnish businesses and livelihood for the country. If the legislation for the indyref2 passes the Scottish parliament, the vote is expected by the end of 2021. (AA)