Sunday

27th Sep 2020

May says No to Scottish referendum, urges unity

British prime minister Theresa May traveled to Scotland on Monday (27 March) to dissuade Scottish leaders from pushing for an independence referendum from London two days before Brexit is triggered.

May’s turbulent week, that will reach its climax on Wednesday when she formally invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to take the UK out of the EU, started by trying to keep her own country together.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon surprised May two weeks ago by calling for a second independence vote before Brexit takes place.

Sturgeon argued that the interests of Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU in last year’s UK referendum, were not being taken seriously by May.

Scotland, for instance, wanted to remain in the single market, as the whole of the UK will cease its membership.

The Scottish parliament is expected to back the call for the plebiscite on Tuesday, even though it still needs London’s approval to go ahead.

The British PM has already said, she disagrees with the timing of the independence bid.

That lead to a tough war of words between the two leaders with Sturgeon arguing it was “undemocratic” for London to refuse the referendum.

On Monday, May said again that she would not allow it go ahead on Scotland’s timetable.

Before meeting Sturgeon, May said she wanted a “more united nation” and that she would fight for the interests of all parts of Britain.

She reiterated that it was “not the time” for the Scottish referendum and that it would be unfair to voters to decide on something before all the facts of Britain's terms of exit from the EU were known.

Sturgeon had called for the referendum to come at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019, before the two-year EU negotiating period expired, and the UK automatically became a “third country”.

But May said in a speech to aid and development officials in East Kilbride that "Now is the time when we should be pulling together, not hanging apart. Pulling together to make sure we get the best possible deal for the whole of the UK."

She also argued that together the UK would be an “unstoppable force”.

She said her government would respect and stregthen the devolution settlements, but would never allow the "Union to become looser and weaker, or our people to drift apart"

Norther Ireland debacle

May’s government is at the same time scrambling to urge parties in Northern Ireland to reach a deal on the regional government In Belfast.

Sinn Fein, which won the election earlier this month, has called for a Scottish-type independence vote.

Northern Ireland also voted for the UK to remain in the EU.

The future status of its frontier with the Republic of Ireland, where border controls could return once the UK leaves the EU, is a key issue in the Brexit talks.

May to Scotland: 'Now is not the time' for referendum

The UK prime minister did not rule out a new Scottish referendum, but disputes the timetable. The Scottish first minister responded by accusing London of trying to "undemocratically" block Scots from deciding their fate post-Brexit.

British PM rebukes Scottish single market plans

Theresa May labels Scottish proposals to remain part of Europe's trade area after Brexit as "impractical" and says they rely on assumptions about Scotland that cannot be accepted.

MEPs draw 'red lines' on Brexit deal

MEPs will stress that the UK and EU members have no right to conclude separate deals during Brexit talks, according to a draft resolution seen by EUobserver.

EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration

"No significant progress" has been made on the latest round of talks between the UK and EU on how their relationship should look from January, according to Michel Barnier. The EU told UK to stick to its prior commitments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Berlin repeats support for EU human rights sanctions
  2. China's carbon pledge at UN sends 'clear message' to US
  3. Far right using pandemic to win friends in Germany
  4. Visegrad countries immediately push back on new migration pact
  5. Why no EU progress on Black Lives Matter?
  6. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  7. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  8. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us