The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has insisted today that she will “reset” her timetable on a second Scottish independence referendum. Ms Sturgeon looked set to call a second referendum in either autumn 2018 or in spring of the following year. However those plans seem now to be on hold after her party lost 21 seats in the recent elections.
Sturgeon said in Holyrood today that she would not immediately look to introduce the legislation. Instead, she stated that the Scottish Government will delay the legislation until next year- although that would still need to be given the green light by the UK Government in order for it to be legally binding vote. In the meantime the SNP leader said she would “redouble” her efforts to try and ensure the best possible Brexit deal for Scotland, while trying to also ensure that the country stays within the European single market.
Ms Sturgeon maintained that she remains strongly committed to Scotland being able to have a say on its own future when the Brexit process comes to an end.
Leaders Unsure Over Vote
Sturgeons pro independence manifesto has been greeted with a mixed response so far. Prime minister Theresa May has previously urged Sturgeon to take the option of a second referendum vote off the table completely. However the Scottish Green Party do not want her independence bid to retreat and supported her by saying she should “keep fighting.
Sturgeon had said that a potential second vote on independence was a factor on the election result, in which her party suffered.
The SNP remain the largest party in Scotland but saw their share of the vote drop from 50% to £37%.
Sort Brexit First
Now, as a result of on-going Brexit talks she said it would be too soon to seek legislation on another vote. Sturgeon was in a defiant mood as she insisted that her party have not backed down from striving towards Indyref 2. “The plans haven't been deleted, they've been saved to drafts”, she said.
It is obvious that the process of Brexit has a major impact on not just Scotland but, the United Kingdom as a whole, so when the impacts of leaving the EU become clearer Scottish ministers will resume talks to "set out our judgment on the best way forward at that time". Sturgeon was hopeful that by next Autumn the Scottish Government will be in a position to set out their view on the precise timescale for offering people a choice over the country's future.”
Economic Implications of Brexit
At this moment we are unsure whether or not the Brexit process will be “hard” or “soft”, but it seems that Scotland’s trade and investment operations are most likely to be affected if Brexit is not negotiated smoothly. It’s through non-tariff barriers, such as product standards and technical regulations, that leaving the EU is likely to harm the country the most. There is a domino effect, the service sector in Scotland accounts for almost 80% of the economy, and any potential end to an agreement over these qualifications would have grave consequences. Furthermore investment is likely to suffer as it will become less attractive to investors. Productivity is also expected to decrease due to factors such as reduced innovation and skilled migrant labour.
Image by The Laird of Oldham [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons