‘Now is the time for independence’ – Scottish leader
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that a second Scottish independence referendum will be held on October 19, 2023. However, a ‘yes’ vote will not be enough to separate Scotland from the UK.
Sturgeon told lawmakers at Holyrood, Scotland’s parliament, that her government would publish the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill later on Tuesday. The bill will provide for a referendum next October in which Scots will be asked the same question as in the failed 2014 independence referendum: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
“Now is the time ... to debate and decide the future of our country ...” Sturgeon declared, adding that she would not “allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister.”
Now is the time for independence.
However, Sturgeon admitted that the referendum would be “consultative,” meaning the vote would be symbolic unless a bill was passed in the UK parliament recognizing the result. London could also grant Scotland’s parliament a so-called ‘Section 30 order’, which would make the referendum legally binding, and Sturgeon called on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “negotiate the terms” of such an order.
Johnson has shown no indication that he would grant this, however, and has previously described the 2014 independence vote as a “once in a generation event.” Another referendum, he said last year, would amount to “pointless constitutional wrangling.”
In 2014’s referendum, Scots voted 55-44% to remain in the UK. While Sturgeon pointed to the fact that a majority of Scottish lawmakers elected last year support independence, polling shows that support for independence has consistently fallen since the 2014 vote. The latest Ipsos and YouGov polls from May both show 46% wanting to remain in the Union, and 38-45% wanting independence.
However, while a majority of Britons voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, all of Scotland’s electoral districts voted to remain. Should Scotland secure independence, Sturgeon has promised to take Scotland back into the European bloc.