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3/29/2017 9:15:18 AM

Scottish lawmakers back independence on eve of Brexit

Scotland's Parliament voted on Tuesday (Mar. 28th) to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's call for a second independence referendum.

The vote by lawmakers in Edinburgh was 69 in favour and 59 against despite Ms. May's last-minute appeals.

"I hope the UK government will respect the will of this parliament, and if it does so I will enter discussion in good faith and with willingness to compromise," Ms. Sturgeon said.

Ms. Sturgeon will now make a formal request for a referendum but she needs approval from the British government and parliament in London to do so and Ms. May has already said that "now is not the time".

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and British Prime Minister Theresa May met in Scotland on Monday (Mar. 27th), with Ms. May reiterating that the time was not ripe for a referendum and describing the four nations of the United Kingdom as an "unstoppable force". (Photo: APF)

PM May on Wednesday (Mar. 29th) begins the process of ending Britain's 44-year membership of the European Union by invoking Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, opening two years of negotiations.

Last year's Brexit vote has spurred the independence campaign of Ms. Sturgeon, Head of the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), who argues that Scotland is being forced out of the European bloc against its will.

Both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, but they were outnumbered by voters in England and Wales who backed Brexit.

Most recent polls show support for independence is high but still short of a majority.

A survey by ScotCen published earlier this month showed support at 46 per cent - its highest level since the yearly study began in 1999./.

VNF/AFP  
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