Theresa May to push back hopes of a Scottish referendum to 2023

Theresa May to push back hopes of a Scottish referendum to 2023

According to the newspaper, the former first minister said that UK Prime Minister Theresa May would not be able to deny Scotland this referendum if Holyrood voted in its favor, and any attempt to delay the vote until after Brexit could lead to a stronger support for independence. The First Minister's stated intention is to hold the referendum "at a time when the terms of Brexit are known", but before the United Kingdom departs the European Union - which she envisages as between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

In truth, there is an element of gamesmanship here.

"I say now is not the time", she said, arguing that all of Britain's energies should be put into the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

Despite her refusal to openly rule it out, Sturgeon's aides insisted afterwards she had no plans to stage a so-called indicative, unofficial referendum.

The Prime Minister is there to unveil her Plan for Britain, which she says is about securing a good Brexit deal as well as a "better deal for ordinary, working people here at home".

It perhaps says something about the times when a full-blown row between the Scottish and UK Governments about whether there should be a second referendum on Scottish independence is only one of the nominees for most significant constitutional event of the a year ago.

May's position was confirmed by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who said Sturgeon's timetable for a referendum - between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 - would be "rejected conclusively".

A Scottish Parliament vote next week on the referendum must be respected. "As I say, that's my job as prime minister and so for that reason I say to the SNP: now is not the time". While acknowledging a snap election was an option, her spokesman said: "We're not planning to do that", adding: "We are not in that space".

"In 2014, I know from speaking to Polish nationals, I knocked on doors in my constituency, majority bought the line which has now turned out to be a falsehood that if they voted No in the referendum they'd be allowed to stay working and living here inside the European Union", said Hendry.

And although his idea that Scotland's First Minister "has created a constitutional check and balance from thin air" is a slightly comic one - giving Scotland its familiar Brigadoon status as a place which appears from nowhere on the Westminster mental map only when it threatens to leave - his strong sense of Nicola Sturgeon's referendum decision as an important move in the United Kingdom political game provides some serious food for thought. "We've set out when we think it would be right", Sturgeon said told the BBC.

It could also be challenged in the courts if Holyrood or government money was used to organise it. Sturgeon will ask the Scottish parliament next week to start the process of seeking a new referendum.

But doing so would run the risk of a landslide win for independence, potentially handing the SNP the political initiative. Areas like Paisley have long supported Scottish bids for independence.

"What would be the point in seeking a mandate that we already have?"

"The UK government has refused to give them certainty and give them right to remain".

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