Scottish independence referendum: UK PM Theresa May channels her inner Edward I, leaves Scotland looking for a Braveheart

Namrata Tripathi

United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's plan to trigger another independence referendum for Scotland before UK leaves the European Union (EU).

Theresa May attacks SNP and Scottish Labour at Scottish Conservative conference

On Monday, Sturgeon had announced in a speech at the Bute House that she would initiate a second referendum plan next week and said that the ballot for the second Scottish referendum should take place before Brexit (Britain's exit from the EU), particularly between late 2018 and early 2019.

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The Scottish minister said that the UK government had "not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement" with the Scottish government over Brexit. "If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as the EU and the single market then it is clear that our voice can be ignored at any time and on any issue," Sturgeon said.

May, however, responded strongly to Sturgeon's comments and said that "politics is not a game." She also accused the Scottish minister of a "tunnel vision."

"The tunnel vision the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) has shown today is deeply regrettable. It sets Scotland on a course for more uncertainty and division, creating huge uncertainty. And this is at a time when the evidence is that the majority of the Scottish people don't want a second independence referendum," May said.

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The Downing Street, soon after May's rebuke, announced that the PM will not invoke Article 50 Bill now as it is expected to receive royal assent from the Queen first. Article 50 contains the formal procedure of leaving the EU.

Sturgeon, meanwhile, has said that that any pretence of Britain and Scotland being equal nations under the kingdom is dead as "our efforts at compromise have been met with a brick wall of intransigence."

Responding to the speculations that May will attempt to block a second referendum plan until after Brexit is triggered, the Scottish National Party has warned May against the move.

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The Deputy leader of SNP, Angus Robertson, said that he did not want to "sit in the back of the Tory Brexit bus... and see the prime minister drive us off a Brexit cliff," according to BBC.

"We have two options. One is to sit in the back of the Tory Brexit bus, shut up, say nothing, and see the prime minister drive us off a Brexit cliff, or we have the opportunity of the people of Scotland having the power in their hands in a referendum about our country's future," Robertson said.

The first Scottish referendum took place on September 18, 2014, which asked the citizens of UK whether they think Scotland should get independence. The people had to vote in a Yes/No format. The 'No' side subsequently won with 2,001,926 (55.3 per cent) voting against independence and 1,617,989 (44.7 per cent) voting in favour of Scottish liberation.

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