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After Brexit, Doubts on Independence Referendum Resurface in Scotland | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon © Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

London- Britain’s government on Thursday officially published a draft law that would authorize Prime Minister Theresa May to begin the procedure for leaving the European Union.

The two clause “European Union Notification of Withdrawal Bill” asks parliament to give PM May authority to start the formal mechanism by which Britain will leave the bloc.

Even though May could not use executive powers known as “royal prerogative” to invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty and begin two years of divorce talks, the judges did remove one major potential obstacle for the government, saying May did not need the approval of Britain’s devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before triggering Brexit.

“The British people have made the decision to leave the EU… so today we have introduced a bill in parliament which will allow us to formally trigger Article 50 by the end of March,” said Brexit Minister David Davis.

Davis said he hoped that parliament would “respect the decision taken by the British people and pass the legislation quickly,” arguing that MPs had supported holding the referendum in the first place.

More so, Scotland’s First Minister raised the possibility of another Scottish independence referendum after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the devolved assembly in Edinburgh did not need to be consulted on triggering Brexit.

“This raises fundamental issues above and beyond that of EU membership,” the Scottish first minister said.

“Is Scotland content for our future to be dictated by an increasingly right-wing Westminster government with just one MP [lawmaker] here,” she asked. “Or is it better that we take our future into our own hands?”

“It is becoming ever clearer that this is a choice that Scotland must make,” she added.

Scots rejected independence in 2014 but Sturgeon’s ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) said Britain’s decision to leave the EU last June—against Scottish voters’ wishes—has created the conditions for another independence referendum.

Sturgeon said the British government is politically obliged to consult the devolved assemblies on exiting the EU, regardless of the Supreme Court ruling.