Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. The vote could take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 when the terms of the United-Kingdom’s exit have become clear.
Crédits photo : Huffington Post UK
Will the United-Kingdom still be united in the next few years ? There are reasons to believe that Brexit may actually trigger the exit of Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon called for a second referendum on Scottish independence yesterday, almost three years after the first one was held. At that time, 55% of the Scots voted in favour of staying part of the United-Kingdom.
« I am ensuring that Scotland’s future will be decided… by the people of Scotland. » – Nicola Sturgeon
Worried over Scotland’s future and frustrated with the British government’s refusal to compromise over Brexit, Scottish First Minister decided to take the lead to prevent her region from being withdrawn from the European Union « against its will« . She even went further by harshly criticizing Theresa May’s handling of the current situation : “The UK government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement. Our efforts at compromise have instead been met with a brick wall of intransigence”, Sturgeon said. Consequently, the necessity of holding a referendum in which the Scottish people would express its opinion on the topic has become urgent. As Brexit is gaining more and more ground, the country’s future is becoming more and more uncertain.
Moreover, Sturgeon’s decision happened at a very tricky moment. Her speech at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh, actually came ahead of a debate in the House of Commons where MPs (Members of Parliament) discussed the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will clear the way for British Prime Minister Theresa May to notify the European institutions of the United-Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. At the end of these discussions, the British Parliament eventually passed May’s Brexit bill, which will formally start the process of exiting the Union.
In response to the Scottish leader’s demand for new independence vote to take place between 2018 and 2019, the Prime Minister highlighted the fact that it would be at « the worst possible timing« , referring to the two-year negotiations that should last until 2019 as well. Hopefully the latest announcements made by Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May will not overshadow the preparation of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties at the end of March.