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Scottish leader aims for independence referendum in 2023


The Scottish leader said she would renew her campaign for independence from the UK next year with the aim of holding a secession referendum in 2023

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the campaign for independence, blocked by the pandemic, “will resume for good” in the spring of 2022, “if COVID allows it”.

Scottish voters chose to stay in the UK by a 55% to 45% margin in a 2014 referendum which was billed as a one-time choice. But the SNP, which heads the Edinburgh-based Scottish government, argues that Britain’s departure from the European Union last year has dramatically changed the political and economic landscape.

Sturgeon faces a big obstacle to a new independence vote: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government must agree to a binding referendum. Johnson is adamant he will not consent, which means any pressure for a new referendum could end up in court.

Sturgeon says that the fact that voters elected a pro-independence majority to the Scottish parliament in May – where the SNP rules with support from the pro-independence Green Party – is a compelling moral argument for a new referendum.

But she recognizes that supporters of independence will have to present a new economic argument to break with the United Kingdom. In 2014, the SNP presented the oil wealth of the North Sea in Scotland as a bulwark of future prosperity. The Scottish government now accepts that fossil fuels must be phased out to tackle climate change, potentially leaving a big hole in the finances of Scotland, already hit by the pandemic.

Sturgeon told party members that his government “would be candid about the challenges the transition to independence will present and be clear about how we can and will overcome them.”

“And then, my friends, we will ask the people to decide,” she said.

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ABC News

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