Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, has said she plans to hold a second referendum before the next Scottish Parliament elections in 2021.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, she outlined plans to introduce legislation to set the rules for the referendum in the near future and said that the Westminster system does not serve the interests of the Scottish people.
The plans for another referendum come with an important caveat; an independence referendum would only be held if Scotland is taken out of the European Union as part of Brexit.
Sturgeon said, however, that she would require agreement from Westminster before any independence referendum could take place.
Downing Street have ruled out granting the powers required for another independence referendum, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson saying that the issue was dealt with in 2014.
“Scotland had an independence referendum and voted decisively to remain in the United Kingdom. This should be respected”, they said.
The First Minister also announced plans to create a ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ to consult Scottish people on what the region’s future should be like and find consensus on how to address challenges they face.
Plans for a second referendum on independence had been put on hold after the SNP lost 21 seats at the last general election.
Support for independence has been relatively stagnant since the referendum five years ago, with roughly 53 percent of people against leaving the UK.