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Sky News Live

Nicola Sturgeon announces plans for a second Scottish independence referendum

The last referendum on Scottish independence saw voters choose to remain as part of the UK by a small margin.

SCOTLAND’S FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon will seek approval next week for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Next week she said she would seek the approval of the Scottish Parliament to open discussions with the UK government on the details of a Section 30 order – which will enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum.

“I will stand up for Scotland’s interests during Brexit negotiations,” she said during a media briefing today from her Bute House residence in Edinburgh.

“Scotland will have a choice to follow [the rest of Britain out of Europe] or to become an independent country.

The timing [of Brexit] is not in the control of the Scottish government. What we know now, is the Brexit deal will be clear in the autumn of next year. That is the earliest point a referendum would be allowed.

“By taking these steps, I am ensuring that Scotland’s future will be decided [not just by the Scottish government] but by the people of Scotland. It will be Scotland’s choice.”

She maintained that the Scottish Nationalists’ manifesto says that a “significant or material change of public opinion or a change in circumstance” would provide a mandate for a second vote.

‘Brexit could puncture the Scottish boat’

Earlier, Sturgeon said the UK government had not “moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement” since the Brexit vote, which saw Scotland vote by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU, while the UK as a whole voted by a margin of 52:48% in favour of leaving.

Back in February of this year, a spokesperson for Theresa May said she “does not believe there should be a second referendum”.

The comment was sparked by a poll published that same day that revealed rising support for independence ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

“We don’t believe that there should be a second referendum. There has been a referendum, it was clear, decisive, it was legal, and both sides agreed to abide by the results of that referendum,” the British government’s spokesperson said.

Questions, questions…

When asked if there was anything the British government could say, Sturgeon answered that would mean they’d have to say ‘something’.

“I don’t know if there’s any prospect of them saying something, because why haven’t they said anything to date. But I am open to discussions. The conduct of the government thus far… has forced me to make this announcement the day before Article 50 is triggered.”

When asked if there was a contradiction in asking for independence from the UK to remain in another union, the EU, Sturgeon said that Scotland doesn’t want to turn their backs on the rest of the UK.

“I’m arguing that we should continue to trade within the single market and within the UK. Scotland becoming independent does not mean turning our backs on the [UK]. I think it would create a genuine partnership of equals.”

She maintained that it was for the Scottish people to make the final decision: to follow the rest of the United Kingdom out of the EU and into whatever deal they make, or to become an independent country and to make their own deal with the UK and the EU.

Read: Scotland now split on independence; May says no need for second referendum

Read: ‘We will never turn our back on Europe’: Scottish parliament rejects Brexit

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