Scotland sets date for second independence referendum

(CNN) – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that “now is the time” for a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom, announcing the proposed date for the vote.

The vote, proposed on October 19, 2023, would ask voters whether or not Scotland should be an independent country. In 2014, in a historic referendum, 55% of voters rejected independence.

In that regard, Sturgeon said on Tuesday that Scotland had asked the UK’s Supreme Court to rule on whether the Scottish government could hold a non-legally binding vote on independence, without the UK government’s permission.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon stressed that the legitimacy of any potential referendum was “of paramount importance” to her. The first minister said Dorothy Payne, a prominent Scottish legal official, had written to the High Court in London asking her to make a decision.

Controversy remains as to whether the Scottish government has the legal capacity to hold an independence referendum without the Article 30 order of the British government.

Sturgeon added that his party, the Scottish National Party (SNP), would campaign and advocate for independence in the next UK general election only if the court decided not to grant the Scottish government the right to hold a referendum.

The prime minister also said she would send a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling him she was “ready and willing to negotiate the terms of Article 30” for an agreement on a second Scottish independence referendum.

“The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland must sit down together to discuss a process that will allow the Scottish people to decide on independence,” Sturgeon said, adding that he would not allow “Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister”. .

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Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon also said he was outlining the steps his government would take in the absence of an Article 30 order, the measure that would allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independent referendum.

Controversy remains as to whether the Scottish government has the legal capacity to hold an independence referendum without the Article 30 order of the British government.

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