Sturgeon will open cards on independence after Brexit

EU Chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier (R) welcomes Scotland's Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 28 May 2018. EPA-EFE/EMMANUEL DUNAND / POOL

Sturgeon will open cards on independence after Brexit


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The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon will lay down a plan for independence as soon as the EU and the UK complete Brexit negotiations.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, October 7, Sturgeon made clear the prospect of a referendum remains on the table but not before it is clear what kind of Brexit deal the UK will secure.

During the SNP’s annual conference in Glasgow (October 7-9), Sturgeon will resist opening up her cards on independence.

The party campaigned on the promise of a second referendum in June 2017, but lost seats to national parties. The SNP has argued that the changing constitutional circumstances of Brexit justify a second independence poll.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of SNP voters marched in Edinburgh, waving blue flags and wearing kilts.

However, she did tell the BBC that Scotland has been forced to leave the EU although it voted to Remain, concluding that Scottish independence “will happen.”

The statement by the Scottish first minister also means that the SNP will not offer its support for the agreement the UK government will secure in Brussels. It is also likely that this agreement will not be ratified by a number of Conservative backbenchers.

Polling suggests that support for Scottish independence will rise when the UK leaves the EU. However, Sturgeon is unlikely to kickoff a campaign for a second and potentially final referendum without the confidence that it can be won.

In 2014 the SNP lost the campaign for Scotland’s independence by a 55-to-45% margin. In the 2016 referendum on EU membership Scotland voted to remain by 62-to-38%.

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