Scotland leader launches campaign for new independence vote
LONDON — Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched her campaign for a second independence referendum on Tuesday, arguing that Scotland would be economically better off outside the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party as well as the devolved government in Scotland, said it’s the right time to revisit the case for Scotland to leave the U.K.
“After everything that has happened — Brexit, COVID, Boris Johnson — it is time to set out a different and better vision,” she said as she released the first in a series of government papers laying out the arguments for independence.
Scotland rejected independence through a 2014 referendum. 55% voters voted to remain in the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon stated that she wants a new vote to decide independence before the end 2023.. This would require approval from the U.K. government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson is opposed to a new referendum but has stated that the issue was settled in the 2014 election.
But Sturgeon claims that the landscape has changed over the years, especially because of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. This was opposed by a majority in Scotland.
“Had 2014 all the information we now have about the U.K.’s path, then I have no doubt that Scotland would have voted “yes” back then,” Sturgeon stated in an interview with BBC.
Sturgeon stated that her re-election as first minister last year was based on a “clear promise to give the peoples of Scotland the option of becoming an independent nation.” “
She stated Tuesday that the Scottish parliament has an “indisputable democracy mandate” to vote. Sturgeon’s party leads a pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament, together with the Scottish Green Party.
She asked Johnson’s government for a special order that would allow a legally binding referendum on independence to be held. She said that she is open to discussing the terms with Johnson.
Johnson’s office again rejected the bid.
” The official spokesperson for Johnson stated that the U.K. government believes it is not the right time to discuss another referendum.
“We believe that the people of Scotland expect their governments to work together to address issues such as the global cost-of living challenges like war in Europe, and the issues that are important to their families and communities.” he said.
Scotland, like Northern Ireland and Wales, has its own parliament and devolved governments. It also makes its own policies in education, public health, and other areas. However, matters such as defense and fiscal policies are governed by the U.K. government in London.
Sturgeon presented the first paper in the “Building a New Scotland” papers. This paper argues that smaller, independent European countries like Scotland are more wealthy and more equitable than the United Kingdom.
She maintained that decision-making in London is holding back Scotland’s potential, adding: “We have a prime minister with no democratic authority in Scotland and no moral authority anywhere in the U.K.”
Opposition parties have criticized Sturgeon for focusing on independence and neglecting other issues such as recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and the cost of living crisis. They believe another referendum would be divisive and counterproductive to the needs of Scotland.
” The distraction and disruption caused by another bitter referendum debate is not what Scotland needs right now,” said Donald Cameron of the Scottish Conservative.
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