Scotland’s Sturgeon sends letter seeking fresh independence referendum

Scotland’s Sturgeon sends letter seeking fresh independence referendum

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon addresses journalists on June 9, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she is sending a letter to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Thursday which asks that the U.K. Parliament grants its Scottish counterpart the right to hold another referendum on independence.

Sturgeon who leads the Scottish National Party (SNP) told reporters in Edinburgh that while the case for independence was yet to be won, an ability to vote on the matter must again be placed in the hands of Scots.

“We are a nation, no better or worse than any other… As a nation, our future, whatever we choose that to be, must be in the hands of people that live here,” said Sturgeon.

In last week’s U.K.-wide general election, the SNP won 48 of the country’s 59 available seats — 13 more than the pro-independence party won in 2017. The Conservative Party, while winning a large majority across the whole of the United Kingdom, lost seven seats in Scotland.

The Scottish government has said it wants a legal referendum that is respected by the wider international community.

The letter, sent by Sturgeon to Johnson, is a request to allow the governments of both the U.K. and Scotland to now enter talks on transferring such legal powers to hold a vote.

Sturgeon said Scotland’s lack of political self-determination had been made clear since the 2016 Brexit referendum, when around two thirds of voters in Scotland opted to remain in the European Union, adding that result had “raised questions about our voice and our democracy.”

Johnson, who now enjoys a strong majority in the U.K. Parliament, has already indicated that he would reject any fresh call to allow another vote on Scotland’s independence.

According to Downing Street, Johnson “reiterated his unwavering commitment” to the Union during a phone call with Sturgeon early last Friday, as the results of the U.K. election were becoming clear.

Speaking Thursday, Sturgeon said that if Johnson once again said no to her then she would “consider all reasonable options to secure Scotland’s right to self-determination.”

Sturgeon added it was now up to Johnson to defend his belief that the U.K. is a voluntary union of equal nations.

“It is for the prime minister to set out why he believes people in Scotland do not have the right to self-determination,” she added.

Scotland, part of the United Kingdom for almost 313 years, rejected independence by 55% to 45% in a 2014 referendum.

Sturgeon said Scotland had made it clear in last week’s election that it didn’t want to be ruled by a Conservative Party or to be taken out of the EU and therefore, another independence referendum is justified by a “material change in circumstances.”

The first minister added that the SNP had a mandate to offer people a choice on independence that was “normal by any standard of democracy.”

A spokesperson for the U.K. government was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

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