Scottish Government Raises Prospect of Second Referendum

October 13, 2016

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon warned Thursday she was prepared to spearhead a second Scottish independence referendum before the United Kingdom completes its divorce from the European Union.

Sturgeon told her party conference in Glasgow she would release draft legislation next week to prepare Scotland for a referendum vote within the next two years, the BBC reported.

She condemned the Conservative Party for allowing its "rampant and xenophobic" right wing to take over, pointing to proposals to cap immigration and leave the EU’s single market.

"Hear this: if you think for one single second that I’m not serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland’s interests, then think again," she said, singling out British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Scotland voted in June to remain in the EU, raising concerns that the country could be forced out of the union against the will of its people.

The first Scottish referendum was held in September 2015, with 55 percent of voters opposing independence.

Sturgeon said Scotland has the right to separate from the UK if Brexit is finalized.

Conservative Scottish Secretary David Mundell urged Sturgeon to work with the UK government rather than "taking Scotland back to the divisive constitutional debates of the past."

"Constant talk of another independence referendum is creating uncertainty and damaging the Scottish economy at a time when our growth is lagging behind the UK as a whole," he said.