Sturgeon independence talk in US a sell-out

Sturgeon last week signed a letter to Theresa May formally requesting a second referendum on independence.

Sturgeon last week signed a letter to Theresa May formally requesting a second referendum on independence.

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Nicola Sturgeon is set to raise the issue of independence to the United States this week when she gives a sell-out talk to west coast academics.

The First Minister's speech at Stanford University already has a waiting list of people keen to see Sturgeon lecture on "Scotland's place in the world", where she will discuss key international issues affecting Scottish, UK and international politics.

She is expected to touch on a range of areas including Brexit, climate change, refugees and Syria and the relationship between the US and Scotland.

The visit to New York and California, which will also involve a series of key meetings on trade and investment, will see her sign a joint agreement with the Governor of California on tackling climate change. Sturgeon will pledge to work with Jerry Brown over their shared commitment to tackling the issue, it is understood. It is thought the agreement would be to share technology and best practice, and keep the issue of climate change at the front of the political agenda.

It is believed that no meetings with officials in the Trump administration are scheduled.

Conservative MSP Annie Wells was quoted by The Sunday Herald as saying: “The First Minister seems determined to talk about independence at every opportunity she gets. Rather than going abroad to try and sell her plans for separation, she should accept that Scots don’t want a second independence referendum and get back to the day job of improving our health service and schools.”

Environmental campaigners have welcomed news of the agreement between the First Minister and Mr Brown.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Scotland has shown global leadership on tackling climate change for many years, so it's great to see the First Minister continue this by seeking to work with others who share our ambition to stand up for people and nature threatened by global climate change.

"There is much Scotland can share with others about how we have successfully created thousands of jobs from slashing carbon emissions from our power sector through the rapid deployment of renewables.

"However, there's also much we can learn too. And, I hope the First Minister returns from the US brimming with ideas on how to repeat the success we've had in generating electricity from renewables in order to begin cutting carbon from Scotland's transport and heating sectors."

The First Minister will carry out various engagements during her visit to the US this week, aimed at promoting trade, investment, tourism and innovation.

Among the engagements, she has been invited to give a speech at Stanford University on Scotland's place in the world.

An announcement on the university website says she will will discuss "key international issues affecting Scottish, UK and international politics".

The Scottish Government has already made one announcement linked to the visit - that US technology firm Xilinx Inc is to invest £3.8 million in its specialist research centre in Edinburgh, creating 12 new jobs and protect 30 existing roles.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The First Minister's visit will focus on promoting trade and investment, boosting tourism, sharing best practice across the public and private sector and promoting Scottish innovation and entrepreneurship.

"The relationship between Scotland and America is an important one with deep and long-standing ties reflected by the strong economic, cultural and personal links of our citizens."

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