1. SNP to insist on Scotland’s right to chose Brexit or independence

SNP to insist on Scotland’s right to chose Brexit or independence

Sturgeon runs Scotland's devolved government and her party has most of the Scottish seats in Britain's national parliament at Westminster.

By: | Edinburgh | Published: May 23, 2017 6:51 AM
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP will ask voters in a June 8 general election to “strengthen Scotland’s hand against an extreme Brexit that will put tens of thousands of Scottish jobs at risk.” (Reuters)

The Scottish National Party (SNP) will insist on Scotland’s right to decide its own future as Britain leaves the European Union, according to a policy document to be published on Tuesday. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP will ask voters in a June 8 general election to “strengthen Scotland’s hand against an extreme Brexit that will put tens of thousands of Scottish jobs at risk.” Sturgeon runs Scotland’s devolved government and her party has most of the Scottish seats in Britain’s national parliament at Westminster.

“This election won’t decide whether or not Scotland will become independent, but a vote for the SNP will reinforce the right of the Scottish Parliament to decide when the nation should be given a choice on its future, and will make sure that Scotland’s future is always in Scotland’s hands,” she said, ahead of the launch of the policy document. Polls show the SNP set to easily win in Scotland in the June vote, although the Conservatives will take some seats from them as the issue of keeping the United Kingdom together takes centre-stage.

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Scots rejected independence by 10 percentage points in 2014 and support for secession since then is little changed. But Sturgeon argues a new choice is needed because Scots, along with the Northern Irish, voted to keep their EU membership, clashing with voters in England and Wales who voted to leave the European Union.The Scottish parliament, dominated by independence parties, has given her a fresh mandate to seek a new referendum. But that has been rebuffed by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who says this is not the time to consider independence with Brexit in the offing.

May is seeking a one-size-fits-all model for Britain as it leaves the EU and has called a general election to strengthen her hand in the arduous negotiations that lie ahead. But Scotland’s government has sought a separate deal to fit its distinct economic needs which it says has been ignored by London. That has strained the ties that bind the United Kingdom together. “With the prospect of a reelected and increasingly hardline government at Westminster, it is more vital than ever that Scotland’s voice is heard,” Sturgeon said, describing her party as “the only effective opposition to the Tory (Conservative) government”. May’s party says the SNP is using Brexit as a excuse to further its nationalist cause and open up a divisive question that it says was already settled in 2014.

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