Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second independence referendum, giving the country’s people a choice between UK Prime Minster Theresa May’s Brexit deal or remaining in the European Union as an independent nation.
Sturgeon announced the news on Monday saying her government had hit a “brick wall of instransigence” when it came to protecting Scotland’s interests in the aftermath of the UK leaving the European Union.
It’s been less than three years since Scotland voted against pulling out of the UK, after which it voted ‘no’ to Scottish independence in a 55% to 45% vote. But now the country looks like it’s ready to have another go at dismantling the United Kingdom, with Sturgeon saying she was eyeing a vote somewhere between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019, when terms of the UK’s exit from the EU became clearer. Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU when the Brexit vote was cast last June.
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In the run up to the last Scottish referendum in 2014, the UK film and television industries bemoaned as to what a Yes vote would mean for the industry at large, from the administering of tax incentives to the the BBC. Indeed it was only last month that the pubcaster announced it was expanding its presence in the country by launching BBC Scotland, a channel geared specifically towards Scottish audiences, with a $37.4M budget. This second referendum comes amid a time of great uncertainty in the UK entertainment business as the long term effects of what a Brexit will mean for the business has yet to be determined.
The SNP leader has a way to go before a second poll is permitted to be put to public vote. Sturgeon said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week to request a Section 30 order from Westminster, which would be needed for a fresh referendum on independence to be held. May’s UK government must then grant permission for a second vote. Sturgeon said that any attempt to prevent Scotland from having another vote would be “tantamount to the UK government, having sunk the ship with the Brexit vote, trying to puncture Scotland’s lifeboat as well.”
She said: “We accepted that Scotland would leave the EU despite the 62% vote to remain but we argued that the UK should stay in the single market or seek an outcome that would allow Scotland to do so. We set out how greater powers for the Scottish parliament could help protect Scotland’s interest in a post-Brexit landscape. Over the past few months we have worked really hard to find agreement. The Prime Minister and her government have been given every chance to compromise.”
Sturgeon added: “The language of partnership has gone completely. If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as the membership of the EU, it is clear our voice and interests can be ignored at any time.”
A spokesman for May said that the evidence “clearly showed a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum.”
“Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote. The evidence clearly shows that a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum. Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.”
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