Downing Street Refuses To Rule Out 2019 Scottish Independence Referendum

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

Speaking on Peston on Sunday yesterday, Sturgeon confirmed that while she wanted a second referendum on Scottish independence before the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union, she was "happy to have that discussion" on timing.

Britain is more divided at home and overseas, the main opposition Labour Party Brexit minister said Monday after the British government announced it would trigger the European Union exit process on Wednesday of next week.

So that Scotland has a choice between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019, discussions need to start now. She doesn't want her hands tied and won't want to consider a referendum until Brexit has happened.

"Next week, in line with the mandate secured at last May's election, we will ask the Scottish Parliament to agree that the Scottish people should have the right to choose our future".

The motion says it would be for Holyrood to decide the timing and question for a referendum, and to set out who would be eligible to vote in it.

The First Minister is aiming to hold an independence referendum, 18 months into Brexit negotiations, when the nature of the deal achieved will be known.

But Ms Sturgeon has indicated she would be prepared to discuss the timing of another vote with the prime minister.

The Westminster government and Parliament are constitutionally bound to approve a Scottish referendum, which Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out for now.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie confirmed his party would vote with the government, adding: "The people of Scotland deserve to have a choice, and it's appalling to see anti-democratic Tories trying to close down our options".

"Even a good deal would be significantly worse than membership of the single market", Ms Sturgeon said.

When pressed on May's response to Sturgeon's suggestion a vote could be held after Brexit, he replied: "I can only look at the motion laid before the Scottish Parliament which they are going to vote on later this week and that's what it said".

Members of the Scottish Parliament will debate the motion on a new referendum on Tuesday and Wednesday before holding a vote.

And Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said it was "absurd for the SNP to put forward a referendum when there is no cast-iron guarantee that they will take Scotland back into the EU".

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