In brief

Sturgeon seeks to hold second independence referendum in Scotland before mid 2021

First minister says statu quo “is broken”

Nicola Sturgeon.
Nicola Sturgeon. Author: Office of the First Minister of Scotland
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to hold a second independence referendum “within this parliamentary term,” that is before May 2021. Sturgeon said this speaking to the Scottish Parliament in an update on the effects of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on Scotland.

Sturgeon admitted that the UK government’s authorization to hold the vote is needed and that, for the time being, she does not have it. But the Scottish leader believes that London’s continued refusal London to allow the referendum will be unsustainable, given the serious constitutional crisis that the UK is going through as a result of Brexit.

The current status quo “is broken” because of Brexit, Sturgeon said, before adding that a real danger exists that Scotland’s current autonomy framework will be cut down after the UK withdraws from the EU.

Conservative and Labour leaders in the Scottish opposition rejected Sturgeon’s plans.

The announcement by the first minister comes in the midst of a serious political crisis in the United Kingdom, which threatens not only to provoke a disorderly and steep withdrawal from the EU, but also to put an end to the current party system in the UK.

In the face of the European election that the United Kingdom will need to hold after having requested an extension of the period to negotiate the withdrawal, opinion polls point out that newly established Brexit Party, which is led by former UKIP Nigel Farage, is set to become the largest in votes. Another party, Change UK, has also been founded, in this case by supporters of keeping the UK in the EU.

This, together with the growth of three pro-European parties (Greens, Liberal Democrats and Sturgeon’s SNP) could leave the two main UK parties (Labour and Conservative) with less that 50% of the votes altogether.