Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Theresa May to push back hopes of a Scottish referendum to 2023

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will hit back at U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's rejection of a referendum on Scottish independence and demand the right for the country to choose, though she's willing to be flexible on the timing.

She will say: "To stand in defiance of it would be for the Prime Minister to shatter beyond fix any notion of the United Kingdom as a respectful partnership of equals".

The former PM will also call for the repatriation to Scotland of £800 million of money now spent by the European Union, and propose the Bank of England becomes the Bank of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with fully-staffed representation in Scotland "to reinforce the fact that the pound is for everyone".

The call for an independence referendum comes just two-and-a-half years after Scots voted to keep the union.

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.

While further comment must await developments in the intervening fortnight ~ till the end of March ~ the government can not but be unnerved by Ms Sturgeon flagging the demand for a second vote of Scottish independence. after voters in Scotland had opposed Brexit on June 23 past year.

The Conservative-led British government, however, must agree to a legally binding referendum and May said "now is not the time".

'We should be working together to get that right deal for Scotland, that right deal for the United Kingdom, as I say that's my job as prime minister and so for that reason I say to the SNP: now is not the time'.

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

"The Scottish Government may decide to argue that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a referendum even without a Section 30 order".

The SNP would refuse to nominate a successor and hope the Scottish Green party, which holds the balance of power at Holyrood, would refuse to support a ruling coalition involving Labour, the Tories or the Lib Dems able to take over.

We can expect Ms Sturgeon not only to rally the SNP troops tomorrow - which won't be hard - but to try to rally the country to her cause.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's plans for a second independence referendum were rejected by May.

Sturgeon will introduce a motion into the Scottish Parliament next week to apply to the legislature in London for a referendum on independence. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act had received the assent of Queen Elizabeth II.

The debate, titled "Scotland's choice", will divide the parliament depending on the constitutional fault line.

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