First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has promised to unveil details of a new independence referendum within the next few months. UK PM Boris Johnson, however, has repeatedly vowed not to allow such a vote to go ahead.
Speaking before the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Sturgeon revived the plans to hold a second independence referendum. A draft bill, detailing how and when the referendum should be held, will be unveiled before the next parliamentary elections scheduled for May.
“Before the end of this [Scottish] parliament, we will publish a draft bill for an independence referendum — setting out the terms of a future referendum clearly and unambiguously to the people of Scotland,” Sturgeon said.
🏴 @NicolaSturgeon has announced the publication of a draft Bill setting out the terms and timing of an independence referendum, as well as the proposed question people will be asked, before the end of this Parliament.🗳 Scotland must have a choice. https://t.co/1TBOd5pYT1pic.twitter.com/lgCzXqvBNS
The first independence referendum was held back in 2014, when the prospect of breaking free from the UK was rejected by some 55 percent of voters. Since then, however, the UK has endured the prolonged Brexit fiasco, as well as two changes of prime minister, and the results of a new vote might be different – especially since the majority of Scots supported the idea of remaining within the EU. Recent polls, for instance, indicated that if a new referendum happened this summer, more than 52 percent of voters would opt for independence.
The announced preparations for a new referendum appear to be largely symbolic for the time being. As Scotland has a devolved parliament, Westminster must greenlight such a referendum first, and Johnson has been perfectly clear in his repeated denials of the very possibility of it happening. Sturgeon, for her part, has repeatedly said she wants the poll to be completely legal and incontestable.
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