Published: Wed, March 29, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

MSPs back second referendum - but they may have to wait until 2020s

MSPs back second referendum - but they may have to wait until 2020s

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stands and speaks in the chamber on the second day of the "Scotland's Choice" debate on a motion to seek the authority to hold an independence referendum, at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, on March 28, 2017.

"What Scotland deserves, in the light of the material change of circumstances brought about by the Brexit vote, is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way - and at a time when we are equipped with the facts we need", the Scottish first minister and head of the Scottish National Party declared earlier this month.

"It is that now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum", she said Monday.

Having won the vote in the Scottish assembly, Sturgeon said she would not seek discussions with London until after Article 50 was triggered because she recognised Wednesday was a momentous day and May should not be distracted.

Sturgeon has said the shape of the future deal should become clear between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019, and the Scottish executive would also put forward a detailed plan by then for what independence would entail.

"The people of Scotland should have the right to choose between Brexit, possibly a very hard Brexit, or becoming an independent country able to chart our own course".

Sturgeon is trying to build momentum in the polls for independence after being defeated in 2014, a year when the Scottish economy was performing better and the price of North Sea oil was nearly twice what it is today.

Speaking to BBC, The Scottish Secretary David Mundell said "We won't be entering into any negotiations at all until the Brexit process is complete".

Sturgeon said she would set out in April how she will respond if the United Kingdom government has still not backed down. "And most people in Scotland have had enough too because this parliament needs to and must focus on the priorities of the people of this country and it is not the time to be sidetracked by yet more unnecessary division". "At this crucial time we should be working together, not pulling apart". However, she insisted that she has a mandate to call a referendum because Brexit means the status quo is no longer an option.

"We will continue to oppose a second referendum every step of the way".

Sturgeon said the Brexit vote is forcing Scotland out of the European Union against its will as 62% of Scots voted in June to remain in the bloc.

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "Let's not pretend that this SNP-Green push for another divisive referendum reflects the will of the Scottish people".

The move comes fewer than three years after Scotland last voted on declaring independence.

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