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Scottish nationalists vow to hold referendum on independence from UK

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Scotland voted against independence by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent in 2014, and a new Scottish referendum is the last thing Britain wants in the post-Brexit period.

Prior to the Scottish elections early next month, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has published an incisive manifesto, pledging to hold an independence referendum by the end of 2023.

According to the manifesto, it’s only the people of Scotland who will decide on their future whether to be under the Union Jack or an independent country.

“The SNP intention is for the referendum to be within the first half of the five year term," the SNP said in its manifesto, adding that the date of the referendum would be "determined by our democratically elected parliament”.

Despite the fact that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has the authority to reject a second independence referendum, he will almost certainly face a constitutional confrontation with Scotland.

The SNP said that in case of winning a majority in May, the Scottish Parliament would pass a referendum bill, proposing the question on the ballot that: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

“There can be no moral or democratic justification for Boris Johnson or any Westminster government to obstruct the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future”, the SNP manifesto stressed.

England and Scotland have been united since 1707 and another referendum, if the Scots vote out, would fracture the UK once again after Irish independence which took place a century ago.

If it goes successful, the step would mark the biggest shock to the UK amid the expanding implications of both Brexit and the COVID-19 crisis.

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