"Now is not the time", British PM blocks second Scottish independence vote

Posted March 18, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May accused the Scottish National Party (SNP) of "obsessive" nationalism, describing the party's call for another independence vote as "muddle on muddle".

The Labour Party in Scotland said it would vote against a second independence referendum. Britain is due to begin the two-year exit process from the 28-nation European Union by the end of this month.

In a speech at the Festival Of Ideas in Kirkcaldy, Fife, against the backdrop of a constitutional stand-off between the United Kingdom and Scottish governments, he will also propose the Bank of England becomes a Bank of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland "to reinforce the fact that the pound is for everyone".

Prime Minister Theresa May has responded by saying "now is not the time" for such a vote, as her government focuses on securing a good Brexit deal for the whole of the UK. Britain's opposition party, Labour, meanwhile, was typically ambivalent (a cruel tongue might say disorganised) about Sturgeon's plans: while Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale called a proposed referendum divisive, United Kingdom party head Jeremy Corbyn declared he would "not block" legislation to hold a second vote in event it reached Westminster.

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The Scottish Parliament has no power to call referendums on issues of the constitution under devolution law - making it unlikely the SNP could make any argument their referendum was legal.

May's stance sets up a showdown with Sturgeon's Edinburgh-based administration.

Despite her refusal to openly rule it out, Sturgeon's aides insisted afterwards she had no plans to stage a so-called indicative, unofficial referendum. "We've set out when we think it would be right", Sturgeon said told the BBC.

I've just interviewed Nicola Sturgeon and pressed her on her referendum demand which, with the help of the Greens, will next week be passed by the Scottish parliament.

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She continued: "It's now clear, that using Brexit as the pre-text to engineer a second independence referendum has been the SNP's sole objective ever since last June".

Davidson said voting on independence without knowing how Britain was faring outside the European Union would mean that "on the most important decision we can make, we would be voting blind".

May today told ITV that "now is not the time" for a second vote, and speaking tomorrow she will commit herself to negotiating a Brexit deal for all of the UK's constituent nations. The only other way the reserved matters in the Scotland Act can be amended would be through an Act of the UK Parliament. Such assent is a formality - no monarch has refused to sign a bill for more than 300 years. May said on Thursday that it is "not the time" for a Scottish breakaway campaign when Britain needs to unite to make a success of its divorce from the EU.

She says she will do that by March 31, calling it a "decisive moment" for Britain. The Prime Minister knows that and everyone understands that.

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