Nicola Sturgeon 'not bluffing' on independence referendum if Scotland faces 'hard Brexit'

Nicola Sturgeon has warned she is not “bluffing” on the proposal of a second independence referendum for Scotland, if Theresa May’s government continues on the path to a “hard Brexit”.

The first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party said she felt Prime Minister May was ignoring Scotland’s appeals to remain in the single market, driving the country in a fundamentally different direction to what it expected after the first independent referendum.

Sturgeon said if Scotland’s interests continued to be cast aside during Britain’s negotiations on leaving the European Union, it was only right the Scotland took control of its own future.

Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (8 January), she said: “[Westminster] will be making a big mistake if they think that I’m in any way bluffing.

“Because if it comes to the point, two years after Scotland was told… ‘Scotland don’t leave the UK, lead the UK’ and here we are, we voted to stay in the EU, we were told that voting No [in the Scottish independence referendum] and we now face being taken out of the EU.

“Now that creates a much more fundamental question for Scotland, when something as fundamentally important as the membership of the EU and the single market [is at stake], and all the implications that has for us.

“If we’re going to be ignored, if our voice is going to be completely cast aside, our interests cast aside, then that can happen on anything. And we have to ask ourselves in Scotland, ‘Are we happy to have the direction of our country – the kind of country we want to be – determined by a right-wing conservative government, perhaps for the next 20 years, or do we want to take control of our own future?’

“And that’s a case in those circumstances, I think it would be right for Scotland to have the opportunity to decide.”

Voters in Scotland backed the UK staying in the EU by a margin of 62% to 38%.

Sturgeon has since repeatedly pushed for Scotland to be granted a Norway-style deal, where membership of the European Economic area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was maintained.

The PM reportedly phoned Sturgeon to say she was taking Scotland’s proposals “very seriously”, but it appears that she has not provided enough guarantees to satisfy Sturgeon.

May has promised to invoke Article 50, the mechanism for triggering Britain’s departure from the EU, by the end of March.

sturgeonNicola Sturgeon says Scotland’s views were being ignored in Brexit negotiations.BBC / The Andrew Marr Show

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