Brexit: Expert considers the Scottish referendum of 2023 to be unrealistic

Expert considers the Scottish referendum of 2023 to be unrealistic

A boy holds a Scottish flag with the inscription “Yes” in his hands. Photo: Graham Stuart/EPA/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Scotland’s quest for independence from the UK has a long history. Brexit could have created new majorities. Is now the right time for a new referendum?

A legal expert considers the plan for a Scottish independence referendum next year to be unrealistic. «A lot is unpredictable. This is not a smooth process, »said lawyer Nick McKerrell from Glasgow Caledonian University of the German Press Agency.

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants her compatriots to vote in autumn 2023 on whether or not Scotland should secede from the United Kingdom. The head of the Scottish National Party (SNP) wants to lead her part of the country with almost 5.5 million inhabitants back to the European Union as an independent country after Brexit. On Tuesday she wants to present her roadmap for the new referendum in Parliament in Edinburgh.

In a 2014 referendum, a majority of Scots (55 percent) voted to remain in the UK. However, that was before Brexit, which the northernmost part of the UK had rejected with a clear majority (62 percent). The supporters of independence therefore hope that the situation will change if there is another vote.

However, there are hurdles to another referendum, since the British government in London actually needs to give its approval – which the British government refuses. Sturgeon recently announced that if necessary, he would also like to carry out the vote alone.

“It’s definitely something different,” said expert McKerrell. It is conceivable that the Scottish government would rather ask whether the population would fundamentally support negotiations on Scotland’s independent status, rather than asking a clear question for or against independence.

In any case, lawsuits from opponents are to be expected, which would delay the process. McKerrell said that a corresponding law would first have to be introduced into the Scottish Parliament. The resulting legal dispute could drag on for months. “I don’t think the timing is realistic.”


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