Scotland should have the right to hold a new referendum on independence if the country is takenout of the European Union “against our will”, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) said on Sunday.
Nicola Sturgeon said her party’s manifesto before a local election next month would say there should be a referendum “if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has
become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people”.
“Or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will,” she added in a statement.
Britain is to hold a referendum on 23 June on whether to remain in, or leave, the 28-member EU bloc.
This is not the first time that Sturgeon raises the issue of the consequences of Brexit for Scotland. Last June, she called for the vote to require a “double majority” where England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would individually have to back “Brexit” for it to go ahead. However this idea was disregarded.
SNM member Alyn Smith recently told EURACTIV France that a Brexit could lead Scotland to leave the United Kingdom.
“There is a very realistic possibility that the UK could vote to leave the European Union, but Scotland will almost certainly vote to stay. This would cause real anger in Scotland. For us, it would reopen the question of Scottish independence from the UK” he said.
The September 2014 independence referendum, which saw Scots reject a breakaway by 55-45%, exposed scepticism about promises made by right-wing politicians like David Cameron, something the SNP has since capitalised on, surging in opinion polls.
In the 2015 United Kingdom general election, the SNP finished third across the whole of the United Kingdom, in terms of the number of Westminster seats won.
David Cameron has rejected suggestions that the Scottish nationalists should be entitled to hold a second independence referendum during this parliament.
Under current UK law, the Scottish National party would need the permission of the UK parliament to stage a referendum and for it to be binding.