Nicola Sturgeon today demanded a new Scottish independence referendum, to take place once the terms of Brexit are clear.
Speaking at Bute House in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said: “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.”
The Scottish First Minister said the UK government had “not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement” with Holyrood and that any deal struck with the EU post-Brexit would be “significantly inferior” to Britain’s current membership.
“If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as the EU and the single market then it is clear that our voice can be ignored at any time and on any issue,” said Sturgeon.
“I believe that it would be wrong for Scotland to be taken down a path that it has no control over regardless of the consequences for our economy, for our society, for our place in the world, for our very sense of who we are as a country. That would be wrong, and therefore my judgement is that we should have that choice.”
The referendum call comes just days before Article 50 is set to be triggered, beginning the two year negotiation process which will decide Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Sturgeon has pushed for Scotland to have its own EU deal but said that her requests to Westminster have hit a “brick wall”.
The results of last June’s Brexit referendum cast doubt on the future of the UK, after Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU while England and Wales voted to leave.
Although Scotland voted against independence from the UK in September 2014, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has since enjoyed a windfall in support and is now the third biggest political party in Westminster.
Sturgeon said: “I believe that in a referendum the Scottish people will opt for independence, but that will be the choice of the Scottish people and I’ve been very clear that that will be an informed choice.”