Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and first minister of Scotland, wants to put a second referendum on her nation’s independence on the agenda, she declared overnight from Thursday to Friday.
Her party won 48 seats in Thursday’s general election in the United Kingdom.
She already claimed there was a desire for a referendum during the election campaign, but now has “a mandate to re-present the choice” to the population, she pointed out.
Exit polls saw Scottish pro-independence supporters win 48 seats, a gain of 13. They won in practically all Scottish constituencies. “We want Scotland’s future back in the hands of the Scottish people, that is the main message of this evening,” Sturgeon stated to the BBC.
The overall election result is much less satisfying for her. Boris Johnson’s conservatives should easily obtain an absolute majority, which would allow the UK to exit the EU on January. The Scots are mostly opposed to Brexit.
“The result is soured,” Sturgeon said. “But the Scottish people have the choice of a different future. I have a clear mandate to give this choice to Scotland, there is no doubt about that. Then it’s up to the people to decide. Johnson does not have the right to take Scotland out of the EU and does not have the right to take this choice away from us,” she said.
In 2014, Scotland voted on independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. A little over 55% were against it at the time, but Brexit could well swing the balance in favour of the Scottish nationalists.
The people of Scotland have spoken
Speaking in the Scottish Capital of Edinburgh on Friday, Sturgeon told Johnson that he had “no right to stand in the way.”
“The people of Scotland have spoken. It is time now to decide our own future,” she added, announcing that next week the Scottish government will publish a case for letting Holyrood decide on a second independence referendum.
The Brussels Times
Update: This story has been updated to include further reporting from Friday