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Scotland is planning another vote on independence before Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP will publish details next week

SNP conference First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was deputy to Alex Salmond at the time of the 2014 vote. Source: John Linton/PA Images

THE FIRST MINISTER of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that her party will seek to run another Scottish independence vote before the UK leaves the EU.

Speaking at her party’s conference in Glasgow, the SNP leader said that her party will next week publish a draft bill for a another referendum.

Sturgeon warned the cheering members of her party that another referendum is “not a rerun of 2014″.

“We must not assume that people’s views – yes or no – are the same today as they were two years ago,” she said.

Instead we must engage the arguments with a fresh eye and an open mind. The case for independence will have to be made and won.

In her party’s programme for government, Sturgeon had committed to a draft referendum bill. She has now given a timeline for the vote:

I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence – and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently committed to invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty before March next year, beginning a two year process at the end of which the UK will no longer be in the EU.

Scottish voters voted for the UK to remain in the EU by a margin of 62% to 38% while Britain as a whole voted to leave.

Sturgeon said Scotland would publish proposals for remaining in Europe’s single market and she also spoke directly to her counterpart in Westminster.

“Scotland didn’t choose to be in this situation. Your party put us here. In 2014, you told us Scotland was an equal partner in the UK. The moment has come to prove it,” Sturgeon said, addressing May.

Sturgeon said the proposals would include taking over powers that are currently in the EU’s remit as well as seeking new powers from London including the ability to strike international deals, and immigration.

“I you can’t or won’t allow us to protect our interests in the UK, then Scotland will have the right to decide afresh if it wants to take a different path,” she said.

In a 2014 referendum proposing Scottish independence, 55% of the country voted against separation from the UK  while 45% voted to leave.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2016

Read: United Kingdom: Scotland votes No and rejects independence >

Read: Spain wants Catalonia’s independence vote declared illegal >

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Rónán Duffy

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