Scottish leader steps up battle for independence referendum

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Thu, 19 Dec 2019 - 10:51 GMT

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a counting center for Britain's general election in Glasgow, Britain. (REUTERS)

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a counting center for Britain's general election in Glasgow, Britain. (REUTERS)

CAIRO – 19 December 2019: Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon announced she will consider "all reasonable options" in case UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to stop her from holding a referendum on Scottish independence, she said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 48 of Scotland's 59 parliamentary seats in last week's election.

Sturgeon said the winning showed overwhelming support for her agenda to hold such a referendum.

A referendum cannot take place without the UK government consent first.

Sturgeon, who heads Scotland's semi-autonomous government, said she would write to Johnson on Thursday asking him to enter negotiations on transferring the power to hold a referendum from London to Edinburgh.

"The question is often posed to me: 'what will you do if Boris Johnson says no?' As I've said before, I will consider all reasonable options to secure Scotland's right to self-determination," she said in a speech.

Sturgeon further affirmed that she did not envisage a Catalonia-style referendum, organized without consent or recognition by the national government.

"In line with our values, we acknowledge that a referendum must be legal and that it must be accepted as legitimate here in Scotland and the rest of the UK, as well as in the European Union, and the wider international community," she said.

Scots rejected independence by 55% to 45% in a 2014 referendum and Sturgeon said the case for Scotland to break away from the rest of the United Kingdom had not yet been won.

She framed her strategy as a fight for Scotland's right to self-determination, according to Reuters.

Johnson, whose Conservative Party won a landslide in England in last week's election but performed poorly in Scotland, winning only six seats there, has said he would not allow a second referendum to take place.

He says the 2014 vote settled the independence question and it would be divisive and bad for the economy to re-open the argument.

Sturgeon argues circumstances have changed since the 2014 vote, mainly because a majority of Scots voted to remain in the European Union in a 2016 referendum, while the United Kingdom as a whole voted to leave.

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