Supporters of independence for Scotland, most of whom are opposed to Brexit, are gaining ground, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday, promising to do everything possible to hold a new vote on the issue despite London’s intransigence.
In a speech delivered on the day the UK leaves the EU, Sturgeon said this was a time “of real and profound sadness (…) tinged with anger” for many in Scotland.
In the June 2016 Brexit referendum, 62% of Scots voted against withdrawal from the EU, contrary to the results at the national level, which saw 52% of British voters approving Brexit.
“As of 11 pm (midnight CET) tonight, the UK that Scotland voted to remain part of in 2014, a UK inside the EU, will no longer be a reality. The status quo that a majority voted for will no longer exist. There will be a material change in the circumstances that prevail in 2014,” said the SNP leader.
Britain’s exit from the Union has relaunched the age-old debate on Scotland’s independence, rejected by 55% of voters in a 2014 referendum on the issue. Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson is opposed to a new vote and in mid-January, he formally rejected a request for a referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon said she would do everything possible to obtain a referendum this year. She indicated that she did not rule out going to the courts to test her government’s right to organise a consultative vote on Scottish independence.