Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday that a referendum will be all but inevitable if Britain decides to leave the European Union.
Sturgeon, whose Scottish National Party (SNP) took nearly all parliamentary seats in Scotland in Britain’s election on 7 May, emphasized that no one should stand in the way if Scotland wants another vote on union with England.
She further emphasized that she had been disappointed when Scots voted in favour of rejecting independence last year, but respected the result.
Sturgeon elsewhere told Britain’s ruling Conservatives, however, that if they continued to ignore the Scottish people’s views they risked fanning a growing desire for another referendum to end the more than 300-year-old union between England and Scotland.
“I think what we need to do firstly,” Sturgeon told BBC television, “is to respect the result of the referendum last year but also to say very clearly that it’s not the right of any politician to stand in the way of the opinion of the Scottish people if there is an appetite … to have another referendum.
“It boils down for me to public opinion. If there is no shift in public opinion then I think it would be wrong to propose another referendum, but equally if we do see a sustained shift in public opinion then it wouldn’t be right for anybody to rule it out,” she told the Andrew Marr show, as reported by Reuters.
Sturgeon said she would push the government for more powers to be passed to Scotland so it could have more control over its affairs, describing a draft Scotland Bill to dismantle Britain’s centralised system of government as “inadequate”.
“I very much hope to see it strengthened in key areas of tax, of welfare, of some of the issues that matter most to the people of Scotland,” she said. “We are not asking for any favours but a fair settlement.”