LONDON, March 28. /TASS/. The Scottish parliament has upheld the initiative to hold a new referendum on independence, put forward by Scotland’s government.
Scottish Parliament has mandated @scotgov to hold formal talks with UK Gov on call for an independence referendum https://t.co/18bncU6AyX— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) 28 March 2017
As many as 69 members of parliament voted in favor of holding another independence referendum while 59 voted against it. The Scottish government’s demand was particularly backed by the Scottish Nationalist Party and the Scottish Green Party.
The two-day debate on a new referendum took place on March 21-22 but the voting was postponed in light of the Westminster terrorist attack.
In light of the voting results, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will now request British Prime Minister Theresa May to hand the Scottish parliament the powers to arrange the referendum. Sturgeon said that she would not write to May until the British Prime Minister invoked article 50 to trigger the Brexit process, which she is expected to do on March 29. "It is not my intention to do so confrontationally, instead I only seek sensible discussion," Sturgeon added.
According to the 1998 Scotland Act, the British government may provide Scotland with an opportunity to hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom in case the Scottish parliament and both chambers of the UK parliament back this initiative.
However, the British government may indirectly deprive Scotland of the right to hold such referendum either by preventing the UK parliament from reviewing the matter or by making the parliament vote against it. However, the Conservative government is unlikely to do so as it would entail huge political risks by strengthening the position of the Scottish nationalists who are sure to accuse London of abusing the autonomy of Scotland.