Second Scottish referendum row rumbles on

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Second Scottish referendum row rumbles on

The Scottish National Party’s Deputy leader has insisted a second Scottish independence referendum will take place.

“Scotland’s referendum is going to happen and no UK prime minister should dare to stand in the way of Scotland’s democracy,”Angus Robertson said in his opening address at the SNP’s spring conference in Aberdeen.”

Robertson added that a decision on Scotland’s future “belongs to the parliament and the people of Scotland.”

The context

The conference is taking place just days after the Scottish First Minister stunned Westminster with her announcement that she plans to seek the backing of MSPs for a Section 50 order.

This would give Holyrood the right to hold a legally-binding referendum.

Sturgeon is planning for the referendum to be held sometime between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, when the terms of the UK’s Brexit deal are known.

What has Theresa May said?

Also speaking on Friday, the UK prime minister told her Conservative Party’s spring forum that she would unite the country.

Delegates applauded loudly when May said she would trigger Article 50 within the next two weeks, officially kick-starting the process for Britain to leave the European Union.

On Thursday, the UK prime minister told the Scottish government that “now is not the time” for a second referendum, saying it would be unfair to ask people to vote without knowing the result of Brexit talks.

While May fell short of saying her government would block a second independence referendum, her Scottish minister David Mundell was more forthright.

He ruled out any discussion on the procedure to launch a vote now and immediately raised hackles in Scotland.