Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at the British prime minister after Theresa May rejected a call from Edinburgh for a new independence referendum.
Sturgeon said in a statement issued on Thursday that any attempt to block a second independence vote would be undemocratic.
“It is for the Scottish Parliament
– not Downing Street – to determine the timing of a referendum, and the decision of the Scottish parliament must be respected,” she said.
“It would be outrageous for the Scottish parliament to be frozen out of the process,” she added.
“The Scottish government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to offer people a choice and that mandate must be fulfilled,” the minister stated.
“Any bid by the UK government to block the people of Scotland from making a choice will be untenable, undemocratic and totally unsustainable – and clearly shows that the UK government recognizes it is out of step with the Scottish people,” she continued.
Sturgeon also said that May’s opposition to the referendum shows that her Conservative Party fears the vote of the Scottish people.
This after the British premier said it’s not the time to reopen Scotland's independence debate before Britain leaves the EU.
The British premier, however, did not entirely rule out an independence vote in Scotland. Her comments came as Sturgeon called for a vote to be held in late 2018 or early 2019 to coincide with the conclusion of the Brexit talks with the EU.
A bill authorizing the British government to begin the divorce proceedings became law on Thursday after it was signed by the Queen. May wants to start Brexit talks by the end of this month.
The Speaker of the House of Commons in Parliament, John Bercow, announced Thursday that the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has received Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II.
The bill, which was passed by Parliament on Monday, allows the prime minister to notify Brussels that the UK is leaving the EU, with a two-year process of exit negotiations to follow.