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Scottish independence: Holyrood to debate referendum call

21 March 2017

The motion, which will be debated on Wednesday, "mandates" the Scottish Government to start negotiations with the UK Government over holding a rerun of the 2014 referendum.

Sturgeon will this week call for the Scottish Parliament to set in train a second referendum, largely based on her election manifesto, which stated: "The Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum... if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out the European Union against our will".

After a third attempt to establish the Prime Minister's position, the spokesman said: "There is a motion laid down by the First Minister this morning which MSPs will vote upon on Wednesday".

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced her intention to hold a second independence referendum in Scotland by spring 2019, at the latest.

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In its official response to the announcement, the Labour Party main Brexit spokesman at Westminster, Keir Starmer, said: "Theresa May has repeatedly said that she wants to build a national consensus on Brexit, but it is increasingly clear she has failed to do so".

Her Scottish secretary, David Mundell, later clarified that the United Kingdom government "will not be entering into discussions or negotiations about a Section 30 agreement" during the Brexit talks, and that any request "at this time" will be declined.

The First Minister is aiming to hold an independence referendum, 18 months into Brexit negotiations, when the nature of the deal achieved will be known.

She added: "The sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs is a longstanding and widely-accepted principle".

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When asked if they believe Scotland would choose independence if Sturgeon called a second referendum, 45% of Scottish voters said they believe the result will favour independence, with 40% predicting a vote to stay in the UK.

"Even a good deal would be significantly worse than membership of the single market", Ms Sturgeon said.

And Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said it was "absurd for the SNP to put forward a referendum when there is no cast-iron guarantee that they will take Scotland back into the EU".

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Scottish independence: Holyrood to debate referendum call