News In Focus
Sturgeon confirms intent to pursue second independence referendum
Legal moves will begin to enable the holding of a second referendum on Scottish independence, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.
The Scottish Parliament is to be asked next week to request an order under s 30 of the Scotland Act from Westminster, which would give it the power to legislate for a new poll.
The move comes on the day on which the UK Parliament is expected to clear the way for Prime Minister to give formal notice of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union under article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which provides for a two year notice period.
Ms Sturgeon told a press conference that she wants the vote to take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, in effect by the time the notice takes effect. She said it was necessary to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU, and it was "important that Scotland is able to exercise the right to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide on our own path".
Her request is likely to be passed at Holyrood, where the Greens are expected to support it. The Prime Minister has not yet said how she would respond.
The Scottish Government is pushing plans that would allow Scotland to remain a member of the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves, but the UK Government has said the same Brexit deal must apply across the whole of the UK.