It should be held be­tween late next year and early 2019, says first min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - World -

SCOT­LAND’S leader yes­ter­day said she would seek author­ity for a new in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum be­cause Bri­tain is drag­ging Scot­land out of the Euro­pean Union against its will.

First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon said she would move quickly to give Scot­tish vot­ers a chance to make Scot­land an in­de­pen­dent coun­try.

Stur­geon said the ref­er­en­dum should be held be­tween late 2018 and early 2019.

She said by then, de­tails of Bri­tain’s post-Brexit deal with the EU would be clear and Scot­tish vot­ers would be able to make “an in­formed choice”.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment must agree be­fore a legally bind­ing ref­er­en­dum can be held. Stur­geon spoke as Bri­tain’s Par­lia­ment was on the verge of ap­prov­ing a Brexit bill that would al­low Bri­tain to start the for­mal with­drawal from the EU in the next few days.

Scot­tish vot­ers re­jected in­de­pen­dence in a 2014 ref­er­en­dum, but Stur­geon said the UK’s de­ci­sion to leave the EU had brought about a “ma­te­rial change of cir­cum­stances”.

Stur­geon said Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May had so far re­fused to com­pro­mise with Scot­land over Brexit, and warned that May’s Con­ser­va­tive Party may gov­ern un­til 2030 be­cause of weak­ness in the Labour Party op­po­si­tion.

Down­ing Street said in a state­ment yes­ter­day a sec­ond Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum would be di­vi­sive and cause huge eco­nomic un­cer­tainty at the worst pos­si­ble time for Bri­tain.

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