Sturgeon Sticks With Timing for Scottish Independence ReferendumBy
First minister speaks in interview with Bloomberg Television
She heads to the U.S. to drum up investment in Scotland
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the U.K.’s refusal to negotiate a date for an independence referendum is untenable as she vowed to keep pushing for a vote.
The Scottish National Party leader last week wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May seeking the power to hold one once the terms are known for Britain’s departure from the European Union, something that Scots opposed. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Sturgeon said the U.K. plan is to wrap up talks by spring 2019 so Scots should have their vote by then.
The Scottish Parliament voted last week to allow Sturgeon to pursue the referendum, which would come a little over four years after the last one, based on her timetable. The U.K. government’s response was swift, reiterating May’s position that it’s not up for discussion while Britain gets on with Brexit.
“I don’t think the position of the prime minister, which at the moment appears to be to stand in the way of the will of the Scottish Parliament, is a sustainable one,” Sturgeon said. “I’ll seek to discuss this with the U.K. government in a constructive manner. The will of the parliament has to be and must be respected.”
The standoff adds another question mark over Britain’s future after May set the clock ticking last week on two years of negotiations with the EU to unravel 44 years of membership.
Sturgeon spoke before heading to the U.S. to drum up investment in Scotland and said it was even more important now to show the country was open for business. She also noted her political differences with President Donald Trump, who owns golf resorts in Scotland. During the election campaign, the Scottish government stripped Trump of his role as business ambassador for the country.
“The links between Scotland and America are deep and long standing and frankly are much deeper than any transient political disagreements between any administrations or leaders of the countries at any one time,” Sturgeon said.
— With assistance by Emma Graham