-SNP leader said she is determined to hold another Scottish independence vote
-Nicola Sturgeon accused No10 of sidelining Scotland’s interests in Brexit talks
-Scotland voted against independence in 2014, but SNP are launching a fresh bid
Brexit has “materially strengthened” the case for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said Scotland’s interests are being “completely ignored and sidelined” and that what has happened in the last two years has reinforced the case for it to leave the UK.
The SNP leader also blasted the British Government for ‘ignoring’ and sidelining Scotland’s interests in the crunch Brexit talks.
Scotland voted against becoming independent in a referendum held just four and a half years ago in a vote nationalists said would settle the question for a generation.
But Ms Sturgeon has seized on Brexit to launch a fresh push for independence, claiming that Scotland is being ripped out of the EU against its will.
Ms Sturgeon told BBC Good Morning Scotland: ‘Everything that has happened over the past couple of years, from Scotland facing exit from the EU against our will to every reasonable attempt at compromise to protect Scotland’s interests by the Scottish Government being spurned, to the powers of the Scottish Parliament being eroded, to the UK Government even taking the Scottish Government to court.
‘All of that has strengthened and reinforced the case for Scotland to be independent, because these are not just academic arguments, all of this will have a material impact on Scotland’s economy and well-being for decades to come.’
She added: ‘The case for independence is materially strengthened from an already strong base in 2014 because of all of the experience of Scotland in the last two years.
‘We were told in 2014 that it was voting for independence that would put in peril our membership of the European Union.
‘Because we didn’t vote for independence, we now not just find ourselves facing exit – the voice and the interests of Scotland are being completely ignored and sidelined.’
Ms Sturgeon – who is determined to see Brexit stopped – also called for another EU referendum to be held.
She said there is ‘clearly no majority’ to crash out of the EU without a deal and that holding another referendum should be the alternative.
She said: ‘I hope the meaningful vote does go ahead next week so that MPs can once and for all say that they don’t support the Withdrawal Agreement.
‘And then the House of Commons can coalesce behind the alternative, and in my view that alternative now should be to have another EU referendum.
‘I think we will need to see the Withdrawal Agreement voted on in order for MPs to coalesce behind an alternative.
‘I don’t take for granted that there is a majority for that, but the SNP will be part of building that majority and if we can get Labour to finally come off the fence then we will be closer to building that majority.’
But the SNP leader’s comments on independence sparked a furious backlash from her critics, who said Scots do not want another vote.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: ‘One of the experiences of Brexit has been just how difficult and painful it can be to break away from a union, even one that has been place for just 40 years.
‘A union that has been in place for 300 years would, in my view, cause considerable economic disruption and there is no appetite from the people of Scotland for it.
‘So I think the First Minister should take the earliest opportunity to rule out a second independence referendum.’
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