Scotland calls for a consultation on a 2nd Referendum Bill

ANDY RAIN

(FILE) A file picture dated 16 September 2014 shows a bakery employee with a 'question mark' cupcake between a Scottish Saltire cake (L) and a Union cupcake (R) at a bakery in Edinburgh, Scotland. According to media reports on 25 June 2016, the Scottish government seeks to begin talks with Brussels about remaining in the EU, adding that a second independence referendum is 'highly likely'. The announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon comes one day after the outcome of the referendum on the British EU membership. By a slim margin 51.9 percent voted in favor of leaving the European Union.

Scotland calls for a consultation on a 2nd Referendum Bill


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Scotland has called for a “Consultation on a Draft {2nd} Referendum Bill.”

A consultation is not a referendum

The first person to be consulted is Prime Minister Theresa May. Nicola Sturgeon is going to London on Monday. She is returning the Prime Minister’s visit to Edinburgh this summer, as soon as she came to office.

Speaking in trade terms, Mrs. May said in Parliament recently that Scotland’s trade with the rest of the EU is worth four times as much as trade with the U.K.

The consultation is to last until January 11, 2017. After that, Scotland is not likely to call for a second referendum before Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50.

When she does, without parliamentary consent, Nicola Sturgeon has made clear she will move towards a referendum.

The First Minister of Scotland vowed on Thursday that a referendum on independence would take place before the U.K leaves the EU, which means before 2019 and while the U.K is negotiating Brexit.

A referendum needs “a license.”

Theoretically, the Scottish Parliament can easily pass a bill for an independence referendum. But, that referendum would not become legally binding without the consent of the British government. Mrs. May has said on more than one occasion that all parts of the U.K will leave the EU at the same time.

If it takes place, the Referendum will pose a categorical yes/no question on independence, as precisely as 2014.

To the question of whether or not London would approve of a second referendum, Nicola Sturgeon says it is “inconceivable” that Theresa May would block a vote. But, it could happen.

Legitimizing the referendum

The First Minister of Scotland was elected in May on a mandate that specified that the Scottish National Party would call for an independence referendum if there were a substantial change of circumstances compared to 2014, such as Brexit.

Nonetheless, the opposition keeps saying that a referendum decided two years ago that Scotland wants to remain part of the U.K. The government responded that this was the case because Scotland was threatened they would not be allowed to join the EU.

In her preamble to the consultation, Sturgeon makes clear that “this government remains willing to work with the U.K government to negotiate a future relationship with Europe that is in line with the views of the overwhelming majority of the Scottish people and which works for the United Kingdom as a whole.”

But, that is unlikely to happen, because Scots voted by an overwhelming 62% to remain in the EU.

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