EU referendum debate: Nicola Sturgeon refuses to rule out second Scottish Independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon  is 'keener to be ruled by Brussels than by Westminster politicians'

Alexandra Sims
Thursday 09 June 2016 22:20 BST
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Nicola Sturgeon has refused to rule out a second Scottish Independence referendum after she was labelled anti-democratic as a debate over Britain’s position in the EU turned to the subject of sovereignty.

Speaking in the ITV debate, ex-serviceman Len Chappell asked what sovereignty meant to the panel, an interesting subject for Ms Sturgeon who, while urging Britain to Remain, has made her wish for an independent Scotland clear.

The Scottish First Minister became visibly riled as Tory MP Andrea Leadsom, calling for Brexit, claimed Ms Sturgeon is "not a democrat" because she wants Scotland to leave the UK despite the result of the referendum.

In response an agitated Ms Sturgeon failed to rule out another Scottish referendum, saying she was "not here tonight to speculate about the results of a Brexit vote".

Former London mayor Boris Johnson, championing the Leave campaign, claimed Ms Sturgeon is "keener to be ruled by Brussels than by Westminster politicians".

Speaking of sovereignty he said we would increase our influence by coming out of the EU because it "tries to replace the UK's voice" in the world.

The EU "speaks for us", he said, "and when there is no EU voice there is no UK voice".

Previously, Ms Sturgeon said while the UK is independent, there are "some big issues that no individual country can tackle alone", citing climate change and workers' rights.

Labour’s shadow First Secretary of State Angela Eagle, for Remain, said sovereignty means being able to protect Britain’s values in an international world, adding: "We can achieve more working together than we could do alone.”

Mr Johnson however said the country would have "that influence and more if we come out of the EU".

Opinion polls suggest that a majority (54 per cent) of people in Scotland want to remain in the EU, with 32 per cent wanting to leave and 14 per cent saying “don’t know“. If the UK voted to leave in the 23 June referendum, it would reopen the debate on whether Scotland should become independent.

In September 2014, Scotland agreed by 55 per cent to 45 per cent to remain part of the UK. The Scottish National Party says the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum after a “material change in the circumstances” – such as Brexit against Scotland’s wishes – or “clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option” of most Scots.

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