Possibility of second Scottish independence referendum rises

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon says her devolved Edinburgh government will publish a “detailed democratic case” next week for a transfer of power that would allow a second independence referendum in Scotland.

“This is not about asking [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson or any other Westminster politician for permission,” Sturgeon said in Edinburgh Friday after it was revealed that her party had won 48 of the 59 Scottish constituencies in the general election. “It is an assertion of the democratic right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future,” she said.

Johnson’s pro-Brexit Conservatives emerged victorious in the Thursday election, clinching a clear majority nationwide. But Sturgeon was quick to remind the Tory leader that he is “the leader of a defeated party in Scotland,” where the number of Conservative seats was cut in half, from 13 following the 2017 election to just six today. The SNP secured an additional 13 seats in the snap poll.

Relations between Edinburgh’s devolved government and former Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government were strained after the Brexit referendum in 2016. While 52% of U.K. voters opted to withdraw from the EU, in Scotland, 62% voted for Britain to stay in the 28-country bloc. Immediately after the Brexit vote, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence referendum was now on the table; however, any binding vote on Scottish secession must take place via a so-called Section 30 order granted by the British Parliament.

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