Sturgeon: Second Independence Referendum Easier To Win

Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain June 23, 2016. Sturgeon has said a second independence referendum could be easier to win. Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon has said that a second Scottish independence referendum could be easier to win than the last, because Scots would be voting for the security of staying in the EU, not the uncertainty of leaving the U.K.

In its referendum on EU membership on Thursday, Britain as a whole voted to leave the European Union, but Scotland overwhelmingly voted to stay, a circumstance which Sturgeon's SNP party manifesto says allows her to call a vote on Scotland's independence.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Sturgeon said Scotland and the U.K. were "In very different circumstances to those that pertained" at the time of last referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, which resulted in the defeat of Sturgeon and her fellow secessionists.

This time, she said, her aim would be to negotiate terms for an independent Scotland to remain within the EU as the rest of the U.K. left, and: "This would not be a decision about Scotland's leaving anywhere, this would actually be a decision about Scotland staying. Therefore, the argument about us retaining the current terms would be even stronger than in 2014."

"I was convinced in 2014 that independence was best for Scotland, but some people in Scotland saw it, understandably, as a step into the unknown," Sturgeon said, "That's not the case now."

A story in the Mail on Sunday newspaper claimed that the European Commission has dismissed the option of Scotland remaining in the EU as the rest of the U.K. left it.

But asked about the claim by Andrew Marr, Sturgeon insisted that it was too early to draw any such conclusion. She said the story was based on "the rules that will apply to the Article 50 process" by which Britain will leave the bloc. But, she said, in the event such rules may be torn up due to the unprecedented nature of Britain's decision: "There are no rules, there is no precedent," she said.

If the next Prime Minister decides to block a Scottish call for a second independence referendum she said that "People in Scotland would find that completely unacceptable," and that given the differing political choices of Scotland and England it would be unacceptable to "dictate" to Scotland what is best for its future.