The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) has made it her mission to give Scots another say on their future in the United Kingdom later this year. This afternoon, Holyrood voted 64 to 54 to agree that circumstances have changed since the 2014 indyref, and that “a referendum should be held”. The vote, which is not binding, comes after Boris Johnson this month slapped down Ms Sturgeon’s formal request to hold another referendum.
Ms Sturgeon is expected to make a speech on Friday to lay out the “next steps” of the “campaign to secure Scotland’s future as an independent nation”.
When asked if today’s vote changes things about a possible second referendum, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said “not remotely”.
Boris Johnson’s man in Scotland said the government’s position “remains the same” because “a generation has not passed”.
His comments were in reference to Ms Sturgeon’s words in the run up to the 2014 indyref, when she called the ballot a “once in a generation” chance for Scots to determine their future.
Nicola Sturgeon is set for a fierce clash with Boris Johnson after MSPs voted for a second indyref
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks in the Scottish Parliament during today’s debate on the motion for Indyref2
But nationalist Ms Sturgeon has argued that it is only “necessary” to give Scottish voters a second say due to the changes in the political landscape over the past six years.
The First Minister’s motion now calls on the UK government to “reach an agreement with the Scottish government on such a referendum taking place on a date and in a manner determined by the Scottish Parliament”.
The vote will be seen as a victory for anti-Brexit Ms Sturgeon just two days before the UK leaves the EU.
Scotland voted 62 percent for Remain in the June 2016 EU referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon’s victory comes just two days before Brexit
Ms Sturgeon used her speech in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon to warn MSPs of the potential consequences of Brexit and Boris Johnson’s government for the people of Scotland.
She said: “Given what the Tories have in store, proposing a further decision on independence isn’t simply legitimate – it is necessary.”
She accused UK ministers of being “completely deaf to Scotland’s interests, needs and voice”, adding that their vision for the UK is driven by “jingoism and xenophobia”.
Independence, she argued, would give Scotland an alternative future.
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Two supporters of Scottish independence take part in a public rally
Scots march in a rally holding Scottish flags and calling for independence
The First Minister said: “We stand just two days from losing our EU membership and all of the rights that go with it.
“In my view it is beyond doubt now that the only realistic way for Scotland to return to the heart of Europe and to ensure we get the governments we vote for is to become an independent country.”
She took aim at the Conservative Party, Labour and the Liberal Democrats for not supporting the SNP’s bid for a second indyref.
Boris Johnson slapped down Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum
“It is hard to escape the conclusion that it is their fear of the choice Scotland would make on the substantive question that is driving the anti-democratic position of the opposition parties,” she said.
“It is only ever parties that know their arguments are bust that have to resort to blocking democracy.
“I know not everyone agrees with my position on independence, but I am happy to have that debate and let Scotland decide.”
Nicola Sturgeon said her party’s strong performance in the election was a ‘mandate’ from Scots for Indyref2
Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie hit back, saying the SNP had “learned nothing from Brexit”.
He pointed out the irony of their desire to leave the “tightly integration union” of the UK while protesting over leaving the “economic and scion union” of the EU.
He dismissed Ms Sturgeon’s group as a “party of barriers and division, when we need unity and collaboration more than ever”.
Scots voted by 55 percent to remain part of the UK in 2014.