Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon vows to take legal action to secure a vote if the UK government tries to block it.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced plans for a second Scottish independence referendum next October, promising legal action to secure a vote if the British government tries to block it.
Sturgeon said on Tuesday that the Scottish government, which is led by its pro-independence Scottish National Party, will later publish a referendum bill setting out plans for the secession vote on October 19, 2023.
She also said she would write to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for permission to hold a consultative referendum, but had already set in motion plans to gain legal authority if he blocked the plans.
“What I am unwilling to do, what I will never do is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister,” Sturgeon told lawmakers in the devolved Scottish parliament.
Voters in Scotland, which has about 5.5 million inhabitants, rejected independence in 2014. But Scotland’s semi-autonomous government has said the UK’s departure from the EU, which a majority of Scots opposed, means that the question should be put to a second vote.
Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party, which sits in opposition in Scotland, strongly oppose a referendum, saying the issue was resolved in 2014 when Scots voted 55 to 45 percent against independence.
He has previously refused to issue a “Section 30” order, which gives the Scottish Parliament the power to hold a referendum.
Sturgeon said the legality of a referendum without such an order from the British government was being challenged, which is why she had already asked the Lord Advocate, the senior Scottish law officer, to refer the question to the British Supreme Court.
If the court ruled that the Scottish Parliament could not hold an independence referendum without the Prime Minister’s consent, Sturgeon said the SNP would instead contest the next UK election on a platform as to whether Scotland should be independent.