The UK has voted. Brexit is the new reality as Europe wakes up. While Wales and England largely voted in favour of leaving the European Union, both Scotland and Northern Ireland planted their feet firmly in the ‘Remain’ camp.
Point of view
FT graphic showing just how divided we are pic.twitter.com/JUswOl08Xu— Patrick Smith (@psmith) June 24, 2016
Despite being staunchly pro-Remain, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had warned before the results that her country would look after its own interests in the event the ‘Leave’ campaign won.
“I want a Remain result in every part of the UK and right across the UK, that’s what I hope we’re celebrating on Friday. Our manifesto though for the Scottish election last month said that if Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against our will, having voted to stay in, then of course the Scottish parliament should have the right to propose a second referendum.”
Early on Friday morning she said in a statement: “The vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union… Scotland has spoken – and spoken decisively.”
She will now be looking to her senior SNP (Scottish National Party) figures to gauge what the next step forward will be. Will they call for a second referendum on cessation from the UK? Or, perhaps, just ask for the option to be put forward?
Former first minister Alex Salmond said Scotland was now likely to push for a second independence referendum after the conditions, spelled out in the SNP manifesto before re-election in May, appeared to have been met.
Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party has suggested his party might be likely to support a second vote on independence, if Sturgeon calls for it.
“Scotland must keep open every option for protecting ourselves from this threat,” he said. “The Scottish parliament and government must be represented in the negotiations about what comes next. A cross-party plan of action should be sought, so we can defend our rights as EU citizens.”
The first minister will need the six votes of the Green Party to win a vote in Holyrood (parliament) calling for another independence referendum. Harvie’s Greens previously said they would only support a second ballot if one million voters were to call for it.
As the leave vote became more and more probable, Irish Republican party Sinn Féin declared that the British government had “forfeited any mandate to represent economic or political interests of people in N.Ireland.”
BREAKING: Sinn Fein says "British government has forfeited any mandate to represent economic or political interests of people in N Ireland"— Marc Mallett (@MarcMallett_UTV) June 24, 2016
Sinn Féin’s national chairman, Declan Kearney, issued the following statement on Friday morning (June 24):
“All the indications are that we are going to see English votes overturning the democratic will of people here in the north of Ireland. Republican and unionist, Catholic and Protestant people have voted in favour of remain.
“The British government as a direct result have forfeited any mandate to represent the interests of people here in the north of Ireland in circumstances where the north is dragged out of Europe as a result of a vote to leave,” Kearney added.
Ahead of the EU referendum, party politician and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, called for an in-out vote concerning the country’s future as part of the UK. His party is seeking a unification with the Republic of Ireland.
However, all opinion polls so far suggest the electorate would be against separation from the UK.