Scottish Parliament rejects Brexit bill

ANDREW MILLIGAN / PA UK AND IRELAND OUT

A general view shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II addressing the chamber during the opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Britain, 02 July 2016. The Queen and her husband Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh are on a seven day visit to Scotland.

…. and lays the ground for 2nd independence referendum


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The Scottish Parliament rejected a bill mandating Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger article 50, by a vote of 90 to 34.

Scottish Labour joined the governing Scottish National Party to vote against the so-called Notification of Withdrawal bill, taking their distance from national Labour leadership. Liberals and Greens also voted against, in line with their national party position.

The vote is not legally binding for the U.K, but it is likely to be used as the foundation for a second referendum on Scottish independence. In the first independence referendum in 2014, Scots were promised to be “equal partners” in the U.K. and voted to remain in the union by 55%. However, they also voted by an overwhelming 62% to Remain in the EU in June 2016.

Given that the Scottish majority is dilutted into the U.K’s primarily English vote, the SNP government argues that this is not the union of equal” partners they had been promised. In May 2016, the SNP campaigned on the promise of a second independence referendum if the foundations, upon which, the 2014 vote was based change substantially. Brexit fits the description.

Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said on more than one occasion that Scotland should be able to hold a referendum. “We will never, ever, turn our back on Europe and the world,” Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Mike Russell, said on Tuesday. Formally, London would need to approve the referendum for the result to be binding.

Last week, the British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told BBC Scotland that the Scottish National Party should “forget all that stuff” about holding a second referendum.  The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, responded that “if this parliament voted to have a referendum on independence, then absolutely I agree that no Westminster Tory should stand in the way of the voice of this parliament.”

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