Theresa May has blocked a second Scottish independence referendum before Brexit

  • Theresa May has blocked a second Scottish independence referendum before Brexit

Theresa May has blocked a second Scottish independence referendum before Brexit

The Tory gamble is driven by a series of opinion polls showing that a large majority of Scottish voters do not want a referendum before Brexit, even though support for independence has jumped from about 45% to almost 50% after May spelt out her plans in January for a hard Brexit. Sturgeon, who leads the semi-autonomous administration in Scotland, said on Monday she wants a vote by the spring of 2019.

Sturgeon is by no means guaranteed of winning a referendum just 2-1/2 years after Scots voted to keep the union, but she has managed to put pressure on May just days before Britain is expected to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty and start the formal divorce procedure.

"It goes far beyond people's choices on independence - it's when Scotland as a nation has the right to determine its own future", he said.

Mrs May said the focus should be on securing the best possible Brexit deal.

The prime minister also said the country should be "working together, not pulling apart".

"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".

"[The Scottish government] is not proposing [a referendum] now", she Tweeted.

But Mrs May accused her of playing politics.

Mrs May had earlier said that her message to Ms Sturgeon on a referendum was clear - "now is not the time". That was "a fundamental reason why now is not the right time to take Scotland back to the precipice", Davidson said. Polling expert John Curtice told Business Insider that doing so would cause a surge in support for independence and be "politically catastrophic".

In response, a spokesperson for the Scottish government told the BBC that it would be a "democratic outrage" for May to block any discussion of a second referendum until after the Brexit process is complete. "It is essential that we get the right deal, and that all of our efforts and energies as a country are focused on that outcome".

"That established that a referendum must be legal, fair and decisive".

"If the SNP insists on pressing ahead, we will argue that a referendum can not happen when the Scottish people have not been given the opportunity to see how our new relationship with the European Union is working".

We have found ourselves in this situation because of the Tories' failure to respond to Scotland's overwhelming vote to remain in the European Union, or the subsequent efforts of the Scottish Government to find a compromise.