In brief

Sturgeon: UK should only leave EU after second Brexit referendum if all four nations agree to

First minister says proposal not linked to holding another vote on Scotland’s independence

Nicola Sturgeon.
Nicola Sturgeon. Author: SNP
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon believes the British government should call a second referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the EU. In that scenario, Sturgeon’s SNP will seek to amend the legislation to introduce a “four-nation lock” so that the United Kingdom can only leave the EU if each one of the home nations —England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland— agrees to.

In the 2016 referendum, England and Wales voted to leave the EU, whereas in Scotland and Northern Ireland clear majorities in favour of remaining emerged.

However, according to Sturgeon, “the only way to ensure that democratic guarantee, of course, is for Scotland to be an independent country.” For this reason, the idea of a second vote on Brexit is independent of the proposal that Sturgeon has been working on for the last two years, that is to ask the UK government for powers to call another referendum on Scotland’s independence. The first minister has pledged to “update” the Scottish Parliament “in a matter of weeks" on her plans to hold the vote.

Most recent surveys say “no” to independence is now between 5 and 10 percentage points ahead of “yes”.