Scottish parliament votes for second independence referendum
The Scottish parliament has voted in favour of holding a second referendum on independence.
MSPs voted 69 to 59 to give the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the authority to negotiate with the Westminster government on holding another vote.
Sturgeon’s minority government won the vote with support from the Scottish Greens after an extended debate.
The prime minister, Theresa May, has said she will prevent another referendum taking place during the Brexit process, stating “now is not the time”.
The two-day debate started last week but was suspended on Wednesday after the terrorist attack at Westminster. The vote was held the day after Sturgeon met May in Glasgow, and the day before the process for leaving the European Union will be formally triggered by the prime minister.
Sturgeon has insisted her referendum timetable will allow Scottish people to vote when the terms of the UK’s exit deal are clear but before it is “too late to choose our own course”.
A UK government spokeswoman said: “The prime minister has been clear that now is not the time for an independence referendum, and we will not be entering into negotiations on the Scottish government’s proposal.
“At this point, all our focus should be on our negotiations with the European Union, making sure we get the right deal for the whole of the UK.
“It would be unfair to the people of Scotland to ask them to make a crucial decision without the necessary information about our future relationship with Europe, or what an independent Scotland would look like.
“We have been joined together as one country for more than 300 years. We’ve worked together, we’ve prospered together, we’ve fought wars together, and we have a bright future. At this crucial time we should be working together, not pulling apart.”
Scottish people voted against independence in a referendum in 2014, by 55% to 44%.