Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has proposed a new date for another independence referendum. Sturgeon said the question would be the same as in the last referendum in 2014: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Sturgeon has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for formal consent. The first minister also asked him to negotiate the terms of a section 30 order, which temporarily transferred the power to hold a referendum from Westminster to Holyrood.
In the case of a negative response from the United Kingdom (UK) government, the Supreme Court has also been asked to rule if the Scottish government can hold a vote without the approval of the UK government.
According to Sturgeon, if the court rules that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power of a referendum, the next general election would be a “de facto referendum” and her party, the Scottish National Party, would be standing only for independence.
Johnson said that they would study it carefully and respond appropriately. Still, he also mentioned that he does not think it is the right time for a referendum and that the country should be focusing on building a stronger economy, solving the issue of the cost of living, ensuring energy security and also being a part of the international response against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sturgeon has set the referendum date as 19 October 2023, before the decisions from the UK government and the UK Supreme Court. In the last Scottish referendum in 2014, voters rejected the independence by 55%, while only 45% voted for it.
Sturgeon also said, What I am not willing to do, what I will never do, is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister.” The first minister also emphasized that she was determined to secure the process to allow the people of Scotland to express their views in a legal and constitutional setting to establish the majority view democratically.
There have also been many negative responses to Sturgeon’s new referendum plan in the Scottish parliament.
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, stated that this referendum was the wrong priority for Scotland, and it hindered the recovery from the pandemic.
Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Labor Party, reminded that Sturgeon’s party SNP promised the people that recovery from the pandemic would be their top priority if they voted for them.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said that this referendum proposal was a huge waste of energy and focus and also accused Sturgeon of fixating too much on breaking up the country and not focusing on the needs of the people.
After the referral to the UK Supreme Court and the letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, now all is up to the consideration of the law officers of the UK government.
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