The Scottish Parliament on March 28 approved by a margin of 10 votes First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s proposal for a second independence referendum.
Sixty-nine Members of Scottish Parliament voted for the motion and 59 opposed it, after the Scottish Greens backed Sturgeon’s call to formally request from the UK government the power to stage a fresh vote.
The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats voted against the motion.
In a previous referendum in 2014, Scottish voters rejected independence by 55% to 45%, but Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party minority government believe the Scottish people should be asked the question again in the wake of Brexit. Scotland voted 68% to 32% to remain in the EU.
“My argument is simply this: when the nature of the change that is made inevitable by Brexit becomes clear, that change should not be imposed upon us, we should have the right to decide the nature of that change.
“The people of Scotland should have the right to choose between Brexit – possibly a very hard Brexit – or becoming an independent country, able to chart our own course and create a true partnership of equals across these islands.”
Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister
The First Minister is to write to UK Prime Minister Theresa May later this week to ask Westminster to give the Scottish government the required temporary powers to hold a referendum.
She is expected to wait until after May invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin the Brexit process, which is likely to happen on March 29.
Sturgeon said Tuesday she hoped “the UK government will respect the will of this parliament,” adding that if it does not, she will “set out the steps that the Scottish government will take to progress the will of parliament” after the Easter recess.
Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell told the BBC that the UK government will not begin negotiations until the Brexit process is complete.
David Mundell on tonight's Holyrood vote pic.twitter.com/F7eHp37sQA
— Nick Eardley (@nickeardleybbc) March 28, 2017
“Now is the time for the Scottish government to come together with the UK government, work together to get the best possible deal for the UK, and that means Scotland, as we leave the EU,” Mundell said.
“It is not appropriate to have a referendum while people do not know what the future relationship between the UK and the EU is. And they won’t know that until the Brexit process is complete.”
Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell