“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” it says in the Bible and apparently, Theresa May agrees with that but only if it’s on her time line. In today’s announcement, she stated her intentions to block a second Scottish independence referendum before the UK leaves the European Union. “Now is not the time” said the Prime Minister to the First Minister of Scotland, pointing out that it would “not be fair” to force the people of Scotland to vote in a moment when, the relationship between the UK and the EU is still unclear.
The Prime Minister defend her position by saying: “To be talking about an independence referendum will make it more difficult for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland, and the right deal for the UK. And more than that, I think it wouldn’t be fair to the people of Scotland because they’re being asked to make a crucial decision without all the necessary information – without knowing what the future partnership would be, or what the alternative of an independent Scotland would look like.”
Her statement was welcomed by Nicola Sturgeon’s opponents, the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson who also said that second referendum is unthinkable before Brexit. “A referendum cannot happen when the people of Scotland have not been given the opportunity to see how our relationship with the European Union is working,” stated Davidson.
However, opinions about Theresa May’s statement are divided. According to John Curtice, polling expert, her decision is quite risky because it will probably rise a wave of support for independence and might be “politically catastrophic.” “Given that it won’t require a great number of people to change their minds before we are in the realm where “Yes” are ahead, I wouldn’t want to take that risk [of denying Scotland a referendum] if I were the UK government” Curtice concluded.
Theresa May’s announcement came just a few hours after The Queen gave her Royal Assent which sealed the decision taken by the British Parliament earlier this week. That was the last official step allowing the Prime Minister to choose her time to trigger Article 50. It is expected to happen at the end of the month.