Just when you thought it was safe to go back into politics: #IndyRef2!
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is going to ask the UK government for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom next week.
The vote — if permission is granted — is expected to be held between the autumn of next year, 2018, and the spring of 2019.
Sturgeon said she believed she could win a vote despite up until now most polls show support for independence in Scotland has barely shifted from around 45 percent since 2014, and that most Scots do not want another vote on secession.
Sturgeon told reporters at a press conference in Edinburgh:
If Scotland is to have a real choice – when the terms of Brexit are known but before it is too late to choose our own course – then that choice must be offered between the autumn of next year, 2018, and the spring of 2019.”
In September 2014 Scots rejected independence by 55-45 percent, though support for Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) has surged since then.
The news kicks off a busy week in Westminster as prime minister Theresa May is poised to trigger Article 50 — the formal clause to leave the European Union — if the Brexit bill makes it through the House of Commons on its second attempt this evening.
Sturgeon said she had called for Scotland to be allowed to strike its own deal with the EU but said her efforts had hit a “brick wall” in London.
Is #IndyRef2 actually going to happen?
It is not yet clear whether Sturgeon will win permission to hold another referendum.
According to a Telegraph report, Theresa May is thought likely to accept the principle of a vote but refuse to transfer the powers until after Brexit, arguing that it would be unfair for it to happen sooner as Scots will not know the choice they face.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn courted controversy at the weekend when he suggested Westminster should not seek to block another independence referendum if Sturgeon insists on holding one.
Markets are nervously watching the developments and the pound initially fell below $1.22 as the Scottish leader announced she would seek authority to hold a new vote on United Kingdom membership.
However it turned higher after she said Scotland must be offered a new independence vote between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019.