Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Monday that she aims for the country to have a referendum on leaving the United Kingdom within the next year.
Speaking remotely to a conference of her Scottish National Party, Sturgeon said she would campaign in May’s Scottish Parliament elections for a mandate to hold an independence vote, according to the Associated Press (AP). Scotland has a right to choose independence “if a majority of us want it,” she said.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calls on voters to unite behind her party and strengthen her mandate for an independence referendum that the British government is refusing to sanction https://t.co/RXrSa7MN2g
— Bloomberg (@business) November 30, 2020
Sturgeon said she would like a vote in the “early part of the new parliament,” which will last from 2021 until 2025, the AP reported. She said her country’s “right of self-determination cannot, and will not, be subject to a Westminster veto.” (RELATED: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Demands Russia Explain Poisoning Of Government Critic Navalny)
That comment was a reference to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s stance that he will not sign off on a binding referendum for Scottish independence, which would require the United Kingdom’s approval, per the AP. Jamie Davies, a spokesperson for Johnson, said Monday that “The people of Scotland had a vote on this, and they voted to remain part of the United Kingdom.”
Scotland voted to stay in the U.K. in a 2014 referendum by a margin of 55%-45%. However, recent polls suggest a majority of Scots now prefer independence, according the AP. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Is Reportedly Executing People For Not Following COVID-19 Protocols)
The shift in opinion is thought to be fueled largely by Brexit. Despite the whole of the U.K. voting to leave the European Union by a slim margin, a majority of Scots voted to stay in the E.U. in that referendum, the AP says.
Views on how Sturgeon has handled the coronavirus pandemic versus the approach of Johnson are also increasing independence support, the AP reports. Sturgeon has not said what action she will take if the U.K. denies Scotland a vote, but some campaigners speculate the issue could go to the U.K. Supreme Court, per the AP.