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UK Government rejects Nicola Sturgeon's plan for second independence referendum

Theresa May - PA

UK Government rejects Nicola Sturgeon's plan for second independence referendum

The UK Government has rejected First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge to hold an independence referendum during this parliamentary term.

Sturgeon told MSPs that the Scottish Government will introduce legislation to provide a framework for a referendum before asking Theresa May for a section 30 order to allow Holyrood to hold it.

However, a spokesman for the Prime Minister has told journalists her position has not changed since permission was last sought in 2017.

“As we have been repeatedly clear, Scotland already had an independence referendum in 2014 and voted decisively to remain in the UK,” he said.

“Our position hasn't changed. Both sides agreed to respect the result of the 2014 referendum.”

He added: "Now is the time for the UK to be pulling together."

In a separate statement, Scotland Secretary David Mundell said: “People in Scotland voted decisively in 2014 to remain part of the UK, on a promise that the referendum would settle the issue for a generation.

“Instead of respecting that result, Nicola Sturgeon continues to press for divisive constitutional change when it is clear that most people in Scotland do not want another independence referendum. The UK Government will stand up for them.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to listen to the views of the Scottish people and concentrate on improving Scotland’s economy and schools, not continually trying to orchestrate upheaval and division.”

Sturgeon announced the Scottish Government will push for another Scottish independence referendum alongside cross-party talks and a “citizens’ assembly” on alternatives to a “failed and damaging status quo”. 

Responding to questions from Scottish Conservative acting leader Jackson Carlaw earlier, Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Conservatives take the view—and I respect this—that independence is not the right way of fixing what is broken about our current system. If it is not, in their view, let them bring forward the proposals for change that they think are right.”

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