In brief

Sturgeon to seek consent before end of 2019 to hold second independence referendum

Corbyn not ruling out vote if Labour wins next UK election

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Author: SNP
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will seek, “likely over the next matter of weeks,” consent from the UK government to hold a second independence referendum. Sturgeon wants the referendum to be held in the second half of 2020. Her main options go through a change in government in the UK that brings Labour Party into power.

In order for the Scottish government to hold a referendum on independence, the UK must temporally transfer to Scotland the powers to do so. That was the legal mechanism was used for the 2014 independence vote, in which 55% of Scots rejected independence.

For that to happen, an agreement between the two governments is needed. The two houses of the UK Parliament, as well as the Scottish Parliament, must support a draft Order in Council which, finally, must be approved by the Queen.

Condition set to support a Labour government

Given the possibility of an early election to the UK Parliament before the end of the year after the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on 31 October, Sturgeon added that her party, the SNP, will only lend support to a party that agrees to the independence referendum.

According to statements so far by the leaders of the main UK parties, the most clear option would be a Labour win. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn does not rule out a second referendum, but he says it should not be held during the first years of the term. This would send the vote to 2022 at the earliest.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are opposed to holding a second referendum.

Support for independence hits 50%

The most recent opinion poll released in the UK, conducted by Panelbase between 9 and 11 October, sees a 50% tie among supporters and opponents of independence, excluding those undecided. In the case of a no-deal Brexit, “yes” to independence could reach 54%.