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Nicola Sturgeon launches new drive for Scottish independence

A new poll found 46% of people are now in favour of Scottish independence.

Nicola Sturgeon watching an apprentice manufacturing a steel 'Yes' sign in September 2014.
Nicola Sturgeon watching an apprentice manufacturing a steel 'Yes' sign in September 2014.
Image: Lynne Cameron/PA

SCOTLAND’S FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon today launched a major new survey on independence, saying the Brexit vote had changed the conditions that existed when Scotland voted against secession in 2014.

“Brexit raises afresh the issue of independence… It would allow us to take control of our own destiny,” Sturgeon told lawmakers from her Scottish National Party, which favours breaking off from the rest of Britain.

Centre-left leader Sturgeon said the survey would be conducted through a website and by polling party members, aiming to reach two million people, or around half the electorate.

The results are due by St Andrew’s Day on November 30 – celebrating Scotland’s patron saint.

“I believe it is right that our party does now lead a new conversation on independence. It will be a new debate, it will not be a re-run of 2014,” she said.

New poll

Scots are deeply divided on the issue and a new poll by YouGov published today found 54 percent were against independence and 46 percent in favour.

In Scotland’s independence referendum two years ago, 55 percent voted against and 45 percent in favour.

But Sturgeon said she believed support for separation would increase once the effects of Brexit become clear and argued that the weakness of the main opposition Labour Party meant the centre-right Conservatives could be in power for decades to come.

She called the Conservative government’s failure to prepare for a “Leave” victory in the June EU referendum “reckless and irresponsible” and warned the result would badly damage the Scottish economy.

“I am not prepared to stand by and watch that happen without a battle,” Sturgeon said, adding that she would seek extra powers from London for Scotland to preserve EU ties to help businesses and universities.

Addressing Prime Minister Theresa May she said: “You do not have a clear mandate to take any part of the UK out of the single market” of the European Union.

Scotland in the EU

May has spoken out against Scottish independence and promised to involve Scotland in negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Britain as a whole voted to leave the European Union by 52 percent to 48 percent, but in Scotland the result was 62 percent to 38 percent in favour of staying in the EU.

Within hours of the result, Sturgeon said a new independence referendum was “highly likely” although formal consent would be required from Britain’s national parliament to hold a new vote.

- © AFP 2016.

Read: Scotland is planning a £100 million stimulus to offset Brexit>

Read: Nicola Sturgeon on way to Brussels to defend Scotland’s place in the EU>

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