The Scottish Parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of seeking another referendum on independence, setting the stage for a clash between the British prime minister and the first minister of Scotland. The motion in the semiautonomous Scottish Parliament had been widely expected to pass, with the minority Scottish National Party government and the Scottish Greens supporting it. Advocates for Scottish independence now have parliamentary authority for a referendum. But holding a binding referendum still requires approval from the British government. Prime Minister Theresa May has not ruled out a second referendum, but she has rejected the proposed timetable. The Scottish motion calls for a vote by spring 2019.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, wants the referendum held within two years. In such a scenario, Britain would be engaged in negotiations to leave the European Union — a process often referred to as Brexit — while, simultaneously, Scotland would vote in a referendum on independence from Britain.
“Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands,” Sturgeon said before the parliamentary vote, which was originally slated for last Wednesday but was postponed after a deadly terrorist attack in London that day.