Scotland’s First Minister Prepares New Independence Referendum

REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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A draft for a second referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom will be announced next week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed Thursday.

The Scots held a referendum two years ago when 55 percent voted against independence. The outcome of the Brexit vote in June is changing the playing field, according to Sturgeon, which makes a new referendum necessary to protect the “country’s interests.”

“I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence and to do so before the UK leaves the EU — if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests,” Sturgeon said at the Scottish National Party’s Glasgow conference. “So, I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week.”

A 62 percent majority of people in Scotland voted for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union.

Sturgeon said British Prime Minister Theresa May lacks a detailed plan for life outside the EU and demanded new powers for Scotland to withdraw plans for a second referendum.

“It’s clear that beyond hardline rhetoric, the UK government has no detailed plan,” Sturgeon said. “So the Scottish government will set out a plan for Scotland.”

Sturgeon hinted at a new independence referendum immediately after the Brexit results came in. Recent polls show that a slight majority of Scottish people, 53 percent, oppose a new referendum.

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