UK Prime Minister Theresa May [official website] has acknowledged receipt of a signed letter [text] from Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon [official website] formally demanding a second referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK. In her letter, Sturgeon expressed frustration with Scotland’s lack of representation in the Brexit negotiations with EU. Sturgeon also stated that the removal of UK “not just from EU, but also from the single market” is not a move that the people of Scotland support or voted for, adding that such a move will have significant adverse economic consequences for Scotland:
In these very changed circumstances, the people of Scotland must have the right to choose our own future – in short, to exercise our right of self determination …. the Scottish Parliament has now determined by a clear majority that there should be an independence referendum …. there appears to be no rational reason for you to stand in the way of the will of the Scottish Parliament and I hope you will not do so. However, in anticipation of your refusal to enter into discussions at this stage, it is important for me to be clear about my position. It is my firm view that the mandate of the Scottish Parliament must be respected and progressed. The question is not if, but how.
This development comes in the wake of the Scotland Parliament’s vote [JURIST report] in favor of a second referendum [parliamentary report] on independence on Tuesday. This would be the first referendum on independence for Scotland since September 2014, when citizens voted 55-45 to remain in the UK [JURIST report]. The government of Scotland announced [JURIST report] in October that it had published a draft bill for a second referendum that would give the country the opportunity to consider independence from the UK. The government explained the move was made to “protect Scotland’s interests in light of the UK vote to leave the EU.”Concern over the economic health of Britain going into the future led to a global market plunge shortly after the vote, as the pound fell as far as 10 percent against the dollar—a low not seen since 1985. The EU has set out a mechanism for leaving in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, where a member state “may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements,” and “must notify the European council of its intention.”