Scotland’s First Minister and leader of Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on 13 March 2017 that she will be seeking the Parliament’s permission to hold a new referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK.
Explaining her decision, the First minister stated that she would take all the steps necessary to make sure Scotland gets a choice at the end of the process, whether it is to follow the UK in leaving the European Union or to become an independent country with a partnership of equals with the rest of the UK as well as with Europe.
Nicola Sturgeon stressed that the vote should be held between the second half of 2018 and first half of 2019 after the Brexit terms are known and before it was too late. The surprise announcement came hours before the House of Commons gave its final approval to the passing of the Brexit pill, thereby allowing Theresa May to trigger Article 50 in coming few weeks.
Sturgeon feels that Scotland is being dragged out of EU against its will, as in last June’s Brexit referendum England and Wales had voted to leave the EU but Scotland and Northern Ireland had voted to stay, with an overall 55 percent in favour of leaving. The final decision for the independence referendum lies in the hands of the UK parliament in Westminster, where Theresa May commands a majority.
If the minister’s plea gets parliamentary approval, then it would make the vote Scotland’s second independence referendum after 2014, when the Scottish citizens had voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Though in 2014, the Scottish people had rejected the independence vote by 55 to 45, recent opinion polls show support for independence going up to almost 50 per cent.