A second referendum on Scottish independence is “inevitable” the new incoming Tory leader has been told by prominent Nationalists who say he should grant authority for such a vote.
But pro-Union supporters have urged the new prime minister, who will be unveiled next week, to stand firm against the Scottish Government demands for the transfer of power to stage another vote on leaving the UK.
Nicola Sturgeon has said she will contact either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt about granting a section 30 order which would allow this after the new PM is in place.
Both men ruled out allowing such a vote during the Tory leadership contest, but Greens MSP Andy Wightman warned it is only a “question of time”.
“Unless Theresa May has a miraculous last-minute moment of clarity and revokes Article 50, a Scottish independence referendum is inevitable,” he said.
“The direction of travel is clear, and the coronation of a Brexit prime minister will only bring that inevitability even closer.
“The new prime minister will have a choice: ignore the wishes articulated by the Scottish Parliament in 2017 like his predecessor did, leaving Scotland unable to act as he drives the UK off a Brexit cliff, or grant Scotland the opportunity to make its voice heard. It’s a question of time. Either option leads to the same result eventually – an independent Scotland.
“I hope that Scotland can be a new radical, greener European nation that can avoid the mistakes of decades of Westminster conservatism.
“That will be the Scottish Greens’ pitch as we build Scotland’s post-Brexit future.”
Recent polls have indicated that support for independence and remaining in the UK are now neck and neck in Scotland as the Brexit crisis continues to engulf UK politics.
Legislation is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament which would pave the way for a second referendum to be held, but Sturgeon had made it clear she would not hold such a vote without authority from Westminster which led to the 2014 referendum.
But Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said Theresa May’s successor must take a strong line on the constitution.
“Whatever your views on the new Prime Minister, the last thing Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum and more constitutional chaos,” she said.
“Nicola Sturgeon will use this moment to launch a major new drive to divide us, capitalising on the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit. This is a time for cool heads and rational response, and the PM must not rise to the SNP’s desperate grievance tactics or stoop to the nationalists’ level.”
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie also called for the referendum issue to be parked and for greater focus on Scottish public services.
“The SNP laid out a blueprint for an independent Scotland in 2014 and the public said no. We should be focusing on breaking down barriers, not erecting new ones.”