Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warns that a continued refusal by Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss staging a new independence vote would “shatter” the United Kingdom.
The first minister, who is set to address a conference of her Scottish National Party (SNP) later on Saturday, will increase pressure on May to compromise on staging a second independence vote from the UK, according to extracts from her speech.
“To stand in defiance of (Scottish parliamentary authorization) would be for the Prime Minister to shatter beyond repair any notion of the UK as a respectful partnership of equals,” she will tell her Scottish National Party conference.
Sturgeon will also be letting it be known that she would be “up for continued discussion” with May regarding the timing of a referendum. She expects to get authorization from the parliament on Wednesday to seek a new vote.
A new vote on independence from the UK, needs to be signed off by London to be legally binding. The premier has so far refused to grant her the powers needed to stage a legally constituted referendum.
Sturgeon on Monday demanded a new referendum by early 2019 at the latest, just before the UK is expected to leave the European Union. May however said “now is not the time” for another referendum, because all energies should be devoted to getting a good Brexit deal for the UK as a whole.
The Scottish parliament is also expected to back Sturgeon’s calls for staging a referendum next week. “The will of our parliament must and will prevail,” Sturgeon will say.
The first minister who has repeatedly refused to rule out staging an unofficial referendum also told BBC on Friday that she was still keen to “work our way through” disagreements with May.
She argued that they both agreed the referendum should not be held now. Sturgeon insisted on Monday the vote should be held between fall 2018 and spring 2019. Surgeon argued that it was imperative for a vote on Scotland’s constitutional future to take place once the Brexit deal being signed in March 2019.
In a referendum held on June 23 in the UK, almost 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU. The Scottish people however voted by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent to remain in the bloc.
This was while in a referendum back in 2014, 55 percent of Scottish people backed staying in the UK. But according to the SNP, the political landscape has dramatically changed since then and that the former vote was based on expectations that the UK would remain in the EU.
The latest annual ScotCen Scottish Social Attitudes survey that was released on Wednesday indicated that at least 46 percent of Scottish voters back breaking away from the UK.
The SNP’s deputy leader Angus Robertson said on Friday that there is no doubt that “Scotland will have its referendum and the people of this country will have their choice. They will not be denied their say.”