Scotland's nationalist leader warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that she would continue preparations for an independence referendum because his Brexit plans would hurt the Scottish economy.
"It is now, more than ever, essential that in Scotland we have an alternative option," Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a letter to Johnson. "The Scottish government will continue to make preparations to give people in Scotland the choice of becoming an independent country," she said, adding that the Scottish parliament would consider framework legislation for a referendum after the summer recess.
Relations between Edinburgh's devolved government and former Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government were strained after the Brexit referendum in 2016. While 52 percent of U.K. voters opted to quit the European Union, in Scotland, 62 percent voted for Britain to stay in the 28-country bloc. Immediately after the Brexit vote, Scottish First Minister Sturgeon said a second independence referendum was now on the table; however, any binding vote on Scottish secession must take place via a so-called Section 30 order granted by Britain's Parliament.
In 2017, May declined to give permission for such a vote, while Brexit was going on. In Sept. 2014, Scots voted 55 percent against Scotland becoming an independent country and leaving the U.K.; support for independence was at around 45 percent, although polls had shown increasing Scottish opposition to May's Brexit plans.