Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scottish Government will publish referendum bill for consultation
Speaking at the SNP conference in Glasgow, the SNP leader accused the UK Government of “high-handed pronouncements” of Brexit
Nicola Sturgeon at SNP conference - credit: Aimee Wachtel
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish Government will publish a referendum bill for consultation next week.
Speaking at the SNP conference in Glasgow, the SNP leader accused the UK Government of “high-handed pronouncements” of Brexit, with Sturgeon claiming Prime Minister Theresa May had shown “a disregard for Scotland's democratic voice that was reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher”.
Questioning the UK Government’s response to the EU referendum vote, the First Minister said that she would explore options to “allow Scotland's voice to be heard” within the UK, but warned that “recent signs have not been promising”.
Sturgeon said: “On the morning after the referendum, I said I would protect Scotland's ability to make that choice.
“In our Programme for Government, I committed to publishing a draft referendum bill.
“I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence - and to do so before the UK leaves the EU - if that is necessary to protect our country's interests.
“So I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week.”
Sturgeon also argued the right-wing of the Conservative party had “no mandate” for a hard Brexit, warning it could mean 80,000 jobs being lost in Scotland, with wages would be hit by up to £2000.
She told delegates: “There is no rational case for taking the UK out of the single market. And there is no authority for it either.”
With Scotland voting by 62 per cent to remain in the EU, Sturgeon accused the Tories of ignoring the country’s democratic will.
She said: “Last week, we heard from the Prime Minister a disregard for Scotland's democratic voice that was reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher.
“An assertion of Westminster constitutional supremacy that belongs in another century.
“High-handed pronouncements that dismiss Scottish opinion might delight the Tory Party conference - but they are no longer acceptable to mainstream Scotland.”
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