Wednesday

26th Sep 2018

Scotland rattles sabre on independence

  • "The case for independence will have to be made and won," said the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon. (Photo: Valentina Pop)

The Scottish government all but launched the campaign for a second independence referendum on Thursday (13 October), when first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that a bill for a vote would be published next week.

"I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence - and to do so before the UK leaves the EU - if that is necessary to protect our country's interests," Sturgeon told delegates at her Scottish National Party (SNP) conference in Glasgow.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The bill will first be put to consultation. Sturgeon gave no timeline for a vote.

She said that if a new referendum were to be held, after a first vote two years ago, it would be "a new debate - not a rerun of 2014." At the time 55 percent of voters chose to remain part of the UK.

"The case for independence will have to be made and won," she said.

The Scottish leader, who said she was "serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland's interests," is in effect putting pressure on British prime minister Theresa May to change her positions on Brexit, amid talks of "hard Brexit" that have led the pound to decade-low levels.

The decision to launch a new independence process comes a week after May seemed to deny Scotland a say in the preparation of the UK Brexit negotiating position.

May told her Conservative Party conference that the UK would negotiate its EU exit and leave the EU "as one United Kingdom" and warned against "divisive nationalists" trying to "undermine" and "drive apart" the UK.

Talks of Scotland's independence were revived by the EU referendum on 23 June, when 62 percent of Scottish voters voted to remain in the EU while Brexit won with 51.9 percent UK-wide.

Immediately after the vote, Sturgeon warned that she would organise a referendum if Scotland's interest were threatened by Brexit.

In July, May and Sturgeon agreed that the British government would trigger article 50, the EU clause on the exit procedure, only after all British entities agree on a common position.

Campaigning 'right now'

"Last week, we heard from the Prime Minister a disregard for Scotland's democratic voice that was reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher," Sturgeon said in her speech on Thursday, adding that May's stance "belong[ed] in another century."

"Scotland didn't choose to be in this situation - your party put us here," she said, directly addressing May.

"In 2014, you told us Scotland was an equal partner in the UK. Well, the moment has come to prove it," she said.

Referring to the so-called "hard Brexit" that the May government has been suggesting recently, Sturgeon said that "a UK out of the single market - isolated, inward looking, haemorrhaging jobs, investment and opportunities - will not be the same country that Scotland voted to stay part of in 2014."

Also speaking at the SNP conference, the party's new deputy leader Angus Robertson called on members to start campaigning "right now".

"We are very close to independence," he said.

According to an opinion poll published by the Scottish daily The Herald on Thursday, 47 percent of Scots are opposed to having another independence referendum, with 38 percent in favour.

The poll also showed that among people opposed to a new vote, 12 percent would change their mind in case of "hard Brexit".

British MPs get chance to shape Brexit strategy

British prime minister Theresa May continued to talk tough on Brexit in a parliament debate on Wednesday, but left room for MPs to prevent a future trade war with the EU.

May: Brexit is 'quiet revolution'

The British prime minister concluded the Tory party conference in the UK by pledging to regain control of immigration and by taking a swipe at pro-EU elites.

UK to start 'hard' EU talks in March

British leader Theresa May has pledged to start EU exit talks in March, prioritising British “sovereignty” on immigration over single market access.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  2. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  3. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  4. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit
  5. UK to allow EU flights in no-deal Brexit
  6. Greek reporters arrested after story on 'mishandled' EU funds
  7. Austrian minister urges police to out foreign sex offenders
  8. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  2. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  3. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  4. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  5. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  6. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  7. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  8. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us