BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Scotland is already taking steps to hold a referendum on independence and believes it is a matter of when rather than if the country separates from the rest of Britain, Scotland’s First Minister said on Monday.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech after Brexit, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman
“We should agree a process between ourselves and the UK government for a referendum in line with the clear mandate given by the people of Scotland,” Nicola Sturgeon told a news conference in Brussels on her first foreign trip since Britain left the European Union.
“We are taking in Scotland the steps required to ensure that a referendum can be held that is legal and legitimate so the result can be accepted and agreed both at home and internationally,” she continued, adding that one such step was testing the potential question to put to voters.
Sturgeon pointed to the British election in December, in which her Scottish National Party had won 80% of seats in Scotland on an anti-Brexit and pro-independence platform, as a clear sign that Scottish people did not see a future shared with the rest of Britain.
“If we continue to see support for independence rise, as we have been doing, if we continue to see demand for that choice continue to grow, ultimately you cannot stand in the way of that clear democratic choice,” she said.
The Scottish leader said Scotland needed to have a referendum before declaring independence.