calls for new independence vote grow

Leading Scottish politicians are calling for another referendum on independence from the UK after Britain voted to exit the EU. The Scottish public backed staying in the bloc and former SNP leader Alex Salmond says Scotland should “never leave the EU.”

Salmond made the comments during an interview with Sky News: “The sensible thing for Scotland to do would never be to leave the European Union,” he said.

His comments were backed by the current leader of the SNP, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is also backing a second independence vote, after 62 percent of the population voted to remain in Europe. This was against the tide of the rest of the UK where 52 percent voted to leave the bloc.

“Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status,” Sturgeon said on Friday before the final result was known, as cited by Reuters.

“Scotland has contributed significantly to the Remain vote across the UK. That reflects the positive campaign the SNP fought, which highlighted the gains and benefits of our EU membership, and people across Scotland have responded to that positive message,” she added.

Sturgeon has remained consistent about her threat to call a second referendum. Speaking in April, she said: “The Scottish parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people.”

In May, Salmond said Scotland would not be pulled out of the EU “against its will.”

“I think if that circumstance came about there will be an ‘out’ referendum, it will occur within the two-year period,” the ex-minister said.

“If you say to Scotland: ‘Look, we can be independent, and within this European firmament, or we can drift off into the North Atlantic with a Tory government,’ I think they’ll choose independence,” he added.

Scotland held a referendum on whether to seek independence from the UK in 2014, but around 55 percent of the public voted to remain within Britain. One of their greatest fears was that voting to leave the UK would mean they would no longer be part of the EU.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also previously stated that he believed a British exit from the EU would eventually lead to the break-up of the UK.

“There’s a little-mentioned aspect, which is that, in my opinion, if the UK votes to leave Europe, Scotland will vote to leave the UK,” he said, speaking to the French radio station Europe 1 in January. (RT)