Scotland has renewed its plan to part ways from Britain over Brexit. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), said on Tuesday that her party will push for a new referendum to gain independence from the United Kingdom as an alternative to Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“There is just too much at stake for Brexit simply to be imposed on Scotland,” she said. In a 2014 referendum, Scots had rejected independence from the UK. Sturgeon said now that Britons want to leave the EU and Scots want to retain their EU membership, a new referendum should be offered. There is no “rational argument” for leaving the EU single market, according to SNP.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, however, has rejected the SNP’s demand, saying that with Britain about to leave the EU, this is not the right time for a referendum.
The SNP is the dominant party representing Scotland in the British parliament, with 54 of 59 seats. It also runs the devolved Scottish government, which has authority over healthcare system, education and transport and some portion of taxes. Polls appear to show that while the SNP will easily win the election in Scotland, the Conservatives will take some seats from them by sticking to practically one policy – opposing independence.
The Conservatives say that the SNP’s answer to any issue is always independence, and they are using Brexit as an excuse to try to further their cause. “Strip away the bluster and it’s written down in black and white – (Sturgeon) wants to drag Scotland back to another referendum by as early as next Autumn,” Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said in a statement..
The SNP argues that Brexit is a game-changer. “At the end of the Brexit process – not now, but when the terms of the deal are known – Scotland must have a choice about our future; a choice between following the UK down the Brexit path or becoming an independent country,” Sturgeon said, adding that the Scottish parliament had already backed the devolved government to implement the plan.