Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 30, 2017
Scotland to press on with referendum
Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to press on with a fresh independence referendum after dismissing Theresa May’s promise of substantial new powers for Scotland Brexit.
The first minister said May’s decision to trigger article 50 on Wednesday, beginning the UK’s divorce from the EU, was one of the most destructive acts by a British leader in modern history, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.
Writing for the Guardian, Sturgeon said the decision was dispiriting, economically foolhardy and constitutionally reckless, threatening stability in Northern Ireland. It also undermined European efforts to combat climate change and collective security, she said.
“Brexit – especially the hard Brexit shaped by May’s inability to shake off the agenda of the Ukip-tinged right wing of her own party – threatens to be an act of self-harm on a scale barely understood,” she said.
She accused May of paying only superficial attention to the Scottish government’s demands for a special deal on the single market, opening up further conflicts with the UK government over the benefits Scotland could gain from Brexit.
“The result is that we must now ensure that people in Scotland are given a choice between the hard Brexit deal now being negotiated, and independence,” she said.
Just as the prime minister told MPs at Westminster she had formally triggered article 50, Sturgeon had received a letter from David Davis, the UK Brexit secretary, insisting his government was engaging seriously with Sturgeon’s proposals.
Neither government would release Davis’s letter but it is understood that he told Sturgeon he was disappointed that she had launched her claim for an independence referendum before she saw the full extent of the new powers on offer once EU laws and regulations were repatriated. (Source: The Guardian)