British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon “politics is not a game” following the Scottish National Party leader’s announcement she is to request a second referendum on Scottish independence.
If it is held and the referendum passes it will have massive implications for Irish unity as there will no longer be any United Kingdom and Northern Ireland like Scotland voted to stay in EU.
Sturgeon made the announcement precisely as British leader teresa May was about to trigger Brexit by invoking Article 50. May is said to be furious at Sturgeon who has revealed her as not even in charge of her own country before eu separation negotiations begin.
Northern Ireland is also deeply affected as unionists may find themselves with no United Kingdom to pledge allegiance to and resurgent nationalists calling for a united Ireland as the only way forward..
Calling Sturgeon’s plans to ask the Scottish parliament if they will grant permission to hold another referendum “deeply regrettable”, May claimed that a second vote would place Scotland on a path of "uncertainty and division" and accused the SNP of having “tunnel vision” when it came to Scottish independence which lost out once already by 55% in a referendum in 2014.
"Instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the Scottish government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of Scotland. Politics is not a game," May added, refusing to state whether she will grant permission for the vote to take place or not.
Speaking in Edinburgh yesterday morning, Sturgeon was highly critical of the British government in a 15-minute address regarding Scotland’s future amidst Brexit.
Accusing Westminister of ignoring Scotland's needs, she announced her plans to request a referendum but confirmed that she is still willing to negotiate Brexit terms and alternative outcomes with Britain’s Brexit negotiating team.
May is set to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which will begin the UK’s two-year procedure of leaving the EU, by the end of March. Sturgeon wishes to hold a Scottish referendum between Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 when the departure negotiations will be coming to a close. Sturgeon claims that this will allow Scotland another option if the needs of the country are not met by the UK government under Brexit.
I said very clearly that's not what I intended. I want informed choice when we have clarity on Brexit - based on PM's own timetable. https://t.co/zoATqcWTYt— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 13, 2017
Accusing May of refusing to budge on any kind of compromise for Scotland, which voted by 62 percent to remain in the EU in last year’s referendum, Sturgeon believes the British Prime Minister to be thwarting any chances of allowing Scotland to establish a special deal with the EU.
“If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as membership of the EU,” she said, “it is clear its voice and interest can be ignored at any time.”
“It is not just the relationship with Europe that is at stake, but what kind of country Scotland will become.
"Whatever path we take it should be decided by us - not for us.”
"The prime minister has been given every opportunity to compromise", Sturgeon stated but claimed that they had been met “with a brick wall of intransigence" and "a point-blank refusal" to discuss a different route for Scotland.
In 2014, the referendum on Scottish independence was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity"...what happened? pic.twitter.com/kfZjJytKi7— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 13, 2017
"I am not turning my back on further discussions," she continued.
“If the UK leaves the EU without Scotland indicating beforehand – or at least within a short time after it – that we want a different relationship with Europe, we could face a lengthy period outside not just the EU but also the single market. That could make the task of negotiating a different future much more difficult.”
A spokesperson from Downing Street has stated that the British government does not believe Sturgeon to have a mandate for a second vote.
“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 spokesman said.
“Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.”
The Leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland Ruth Davidson has accused Sturgeon of “political opportunism” and blasted her for being “utterly irresponsible”.
“Nicola Sturgeon has today given up acting as first minister for all of Scotland,” she said.
“The first minister’s proposal offers Scotland the worst of all worlds. Her timetable would force people to vote blind on the biggest political decision a country could face. This is utterly irresponsible and has been taken by the first minister purely for partisan political reasons.”
The Labor Party in Scotland will also oppose the second referendum, as confirmed by the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn.
When questioned about the possible referendum while in the US on his St. Patrick’s Day trip, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to be drawn into a discussion on Sturgeon’s announcement.
"It is not appropriate for us to speculate about any possible scenarios around it,” he said.
"The Good Friday Agreement sets out the basis on which unification could arise by peaceful and democratic means.
"Our primary objective is to ensure that all aspects of the GFA are fully protected under Brexit."
Sturgeon’s announcement came as a new poll revealed a “clear majority” of Scots are opposed to a second referendum being held on independence before Brexit negotiations are over. The same poll claims that the country is now split 52-48 in favor of remaining in the UK.
This joins two earlier opinion polls that show the independence movement closing in on those who wish to remain. The announcement yesterday will essentially begin a two-year independence campaign from the devolved Scottish government based in Holyrood, which will place added pressure onto the UK’s negotiating capacity in Europe.
You can view Sturgeon’s full speech here:
Do you think Scotland will vote for independence in a second referendum? Should they leave the UK to regain their position with the EU? Let us know your opinions in the comments section.