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Time running out for UK to stop Scotland independence bid: Sturgeon

28 February 2017 13:31


The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May is pushing Scotland towards another independence bid, says Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, warning London that “time is running out” for making amends.

In an article for the Times newspaper, Sturgeon said last year’s vote by 52 percent of Britons to end the UK’s membership in the European Union had changed the landscape since Scotland’s failed independent bid in 2014.

“If an independence referendum does arise, it will not be down to bad faith on the part of the Scottish government, but to sheer intransigence on the part of the UK government,” Sturgeon wrote. “It is not too late for the UK government to change course, but time is running out.”

In a 2014 referendum, 55 percent of Scots voted against independence, but the discussions about the issue gained steam again following the Brexit vote.

While voters in England and Wales strongly backed the divorce from the EU, Scottish voters overwhelmingly voted to remain a part of the 28-member bloc.

The devolved Scottish government says the Scottish people are being forced out of the EU against their will. Sturgeon has demanded a “key role” for her devolved government in the EU talks, a request that has fallen on deaf ears in London.

Pro-Scottish Independence supporters with Scottish Saltire flags and EU flags among others rally in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, July 30, 2016 to call for Scottish independence from the UK. (Photo by AFP)

The problem grew bigger when May announced her plans for a “clean exit” from the EU, where the UK would lose its access to the EU single market against Scotland’s desire.

British Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said last Wednesday that Scotland was leaving the EU whether or not it becomes an independent state.

Earlier in February, May’s spokesman made it clear that the premier was against a new independence bid, arguing that the Scottish people had already voiced their opposition to secede from the UK over Brexit.

Sturgeon wrote in her article that the main reason for the failure of the 2014 campaign was that people thought “that a Yes vote would imperil it and a No vote would secure it.”

The other assumption of those who opposed the independence bid back then was “the assertion that Scotland was an equal partner in the UK,” she further argued.

“And yet, two years on from being told that rejecting independence would safeguard our EU membership, we face exit from the EU and from the single market and customs union. And far from our voice being listened to, our efforts at compromise are being rebuffed,” she added.

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