UK Politics: Sturgeon calls for second Scottish independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon (above) will ask the Scottish Parliament to approve a second referendum
Nicola Sturgeon (above) will ask the Scottish Parliament to approve a second referendum

The Betfair markets have reacted after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that she will seeks approval for a second referendum on independence. Max Liu reports...

Downing Street responded by saying a second referendum in Scotland would be "divisive." The Prime Minister's spokesperson did not go so far, however, as saying they would try to block the referendum, if a majority of MSPs vote for it.

The odds on a second referendum on Scottish independence before 2019 have narrowed to 2.68/5 after Nicola Sturgeon announced that she will ask the Scottish Parliament to approve a new vote. In terms of the timing of the referendum, bettors should note that Sturgeon says it would take place between autumn of 2018 and the following spring.

After months of speculation, Scotland's First Minister said it was wrong for her country "to be taken down a path we don't want to go down without a choice".

She added that, in pursuing a 'hard Brexit', the Westminster government had ignored Scotland where 62% voted to remain in last June's referendum on European Union membership.

For these reasons, Sturgeon believes there are new grounds for a referendum, even though Scotland voted by 55% to 45% to stay in the UK in the 2014 referendum on independence. A second referendum then looks likely to come down to choice between which union Scots want to be part of - the UK or the EU.

Downing Street responded by saying a second referendum in Scotland would be "divisive." The Prime Minister's spokesperson did not go so far, however, as saying they would try to block the referendum, if a majority of MSPs vote for it. The UK government might, though, try to delay the referendum until after Britain has left the EU which is one reason why bettors don't believe the vote will take place before 2019.

Both Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale announced that their MSPs will vote against holding a second referendum when the proposals come before the Scottish Parliament next week. The SNP do not have a majority at Holyrood but, with support from Green Party MSPs, it's almost certain that the Parliament will vote to hold a second referendum.

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