Scottish MPs debate new independence referendum


Scottish lawmakers on Tuesday begin a two-day debate on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for an independence referendum — a major headache for Prime Minister Theresa May as she prepares to launch Brexit.
The Scottish parliament is expected to vote on Wednesday to endorse Sturgeon’s call for a second vote, less than three years after Scots rejected independence in a 2014 referendum.
Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, says Britain’s vote to leave the EU means Scots should be able to reconsider.
She called last week for a vote between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 — before Brexit, which now looks set to take place in March 2019.
May has said that “now is not the time” for a new vote, and can block Sturgeon’s request even if the Scottish parliament approves it this week. But the SNP leader has said such a move would be “democratically indefensible,” although she has signalled she is willing to negotiate on a date.
“This crucial decision over our future should not be made unilaterally by me, or by the prime minister,” Sturgeon said.
“It should be made by the people of Scotland, and I call on parliament to give the people that choice.” — AFP

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