Scottish leader: 2nd independence vote in case of Brexit

LONDON (AA): Scotland will hold a second independence referendum by 2021 if Brexit takes it out of the EU, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Wednesday.

Speaking at the Scottish parliament, Sturgeon said a majority of Scottish voters want a second independence referendum, adding that “to rush into an immediate decision” would not allow for an “informed choice”.

She told the Scottish lawmakers that a second referendum should happen “in the lifetime of this parliament” — before May 2021 — if Scotland is taken out of the EU.

“A choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of this parliament,” she said.

Sturgeon said it is in Scotland’s interests to have a close relationship with the EU and that her Scottish National Party (SNP) has done all it can to avert the current Brexit crisis enveloping all of the U.K.

“The Westminster system of government simply does not serve Scotland’s interests,” she said.

Sturgeon added: “I believe that the case for independence is stronger than ever. “And I will make that case. But I know others take a different view.

“So, as we take the necessary legislative steps over the next few months, I will also seek to open up space for us to come together and find areas of agreement as mature politicians should.

“We have seen in Westminster what happens when parties fail to work together — when leaders take a ‘my way or the highway’ approach and when so many red lines and inflexible preconditions are set, that progress becomes impossible. “Twenty years on from the establishment of this parliament, I believe we can do better. Brexit makes change for Scotland inevitable.”

In its first vote on independence from the U.K. in 2014, Scots voted in favor of remaining in the U.K.

In the 2016 Brexit referendum, a majority of Scottish voters said they would like to remain in the EU.