Sturgeon prepares for second independence vote

The Scottish Government has published legislation for the framework to hold another independence referendum, including the provision to set the date, question and timeframe.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last month promised to push for another vote on leaving the UK within two years to protect Scotland from the consequences of Brexit.

“The Referendums (Scotland) Bill will provide a legal framework for the holding of referendums on any matters within Scotland’s control,” said the Scottish Government.

“It is intended that the Bill will have completed its parliamentary progress by the end of this calendar year.

“The Bill includes provision for the date, question and referendum period to be set by secondary legislation. 

“For a referendum on independence, it is proposed that this would take place following a transfer of power, ensuring such a referendum could not be legally challenged.”

Scotland needs the UK government to transfer the power to hold the vote and make it legal. 

Sturgeon said: “Now, more than ever, it is essential that we keep Scotland’s options open so that people have the opportunity to choose a better future.

“An independence referendum within this parliamentary term will give Scotland the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation – rather than have a Brexit future imposed upon us.

“Throughout the Brexit process, Scotland has been treated with contempt by Westminster, and our efforts to find compromise and protect the interests of the people of Scotland, who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, have been ignored.

“We will seek agreement to a transfer of power at an appropriate point to enable an independence referendum that is beyond challenge to be held later in this parliament. 

“It is essential the UK Government recognises that it would be a democratic outrage if it seeks to block such a referendum – indeed, any such stance would, in my view, prove to be utterly unsustainable.”

Government Business and Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said: “Although referendums have become an increasingly common feature of UK democracy, it is a long time since the framework governing them was last comprehensively reviewed.

“Introducing a standing framework for referendums is a reasonable thing for any country or Parliament to have and this legislation will put Scotland in the same position as the UK and many other countries.”