Scotland’s top official has threatened to hold another referendum for independence from the UK in case of a hard Brexit, in defiance of the British prime minister’s vow to block a second independence poll.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon insisted in a keynote speech at the annual conference of Scottish National Party (SNP) in Glasgow on Saturday that a hard Brexit would amount to the British government’s breach of its promises during the last Scottish referendum and that such departure from the EU would lead to a second independence vote,The Guardian reported.
“If the Tory government rejects these efforts, if it insists on taking Scotland down a path that hurts our economy, costs jobs, lowers our living standards and damages our reputation as an open, welcoming, diverse country, then be in no doubt Scotland must have the ability to choose a better future,” Sturgeon said. “And I will make sure that Scotland gets that chance. And let us be clear about this, too. If that moment does arise, it will not be because the 2014 result hasn’t been respected. It will be because the promises made to Scotland in 2014 have been broken.”
The remarks followed a statement by Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson, vowing to impede Sturgeon’s plans to unveil draft legislation next week to prepare for another independence vote within the next two years. May had earlier said that the SNP should respect the result of the last referendum in 2014.
The SNP leader also declared that Scotland would expand its presence in Europe through trade missions, including a permanent representation in Berlin.
“Make no mistake, the threat to our economy is not just the prospect of losing our place in the single market – disastrous though that would be,” she emphasized.
Sturgeon went on to harshly slam the UK government’s economic and trade policies saying, “It is also the deeply damaging – and utterly shameful – message that the Tories’ rhetoric about foreign workers is sending to the world. More than ever, we need to tell our European friends that Scotland is open for business.”
“And let me be crystal clear about this – we cannot trust the likes of Boris Johnson and Liam Fox to do that for us,” she noted.
The Scottish official discussed her plans as European parliament papers revealed that the crash in the value of the British pound since June 23 will likely lead to a huge increase in Britain’s contributions to the EU budget in 2017.