The first stop on a whirlwind tour of the UK has taken British Prime Minister Theresa May to Scotland, where she met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for what was described as a “cordial” and “businesslike” encounter.
Scotland’s devolved assembly is voting today (March 28) on whether or not to request a second referendum on independence from the UK.
This, a day before May triggers Article 50, formally beginning the UK’s exit from the EU.
“I had been under the impression, based on weekend media reports, that she coming to offer something in the way of more powers, it turned out that wasn’t the case. So there was no real guarantee that powers, when they come back from Brussels, in areas that are already devolved won’t in part be centralised at Westminster,” said Sturgeon.
Sturgeon added that she was “frustrated by a process that appears not to be listening.”
Ahead of the meeting May had made it clear she would not give the OK to a secession vote at the moment.
“My position isn’t going to change, which is that now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum,” she told the press.
“So as Britain leaves the European Union and we forge a new role for ourselves in the world, the strength and stability of our union will become even more important”.
The June, 2016, Brexit ballot revealed deep divisions in the UK. Scottish voters opted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and Sturgeon says they must be the ones to decide whether to remain in the UK and, therefore, leave the EU or leave the UK and attempt to broker a deal with the Union.
“If I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding – completely unilaterally – that Scotland will follow the UK to a hard Brexit come-what-may, no matter how damaging to our society it turns out to be.
“That should not be the decision of just one politician – not even the First Minister. It will be decided by the people of Scotland. It will be Scotland’s choice.”