Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 48 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech to the media at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, after the SNP won 47 seats, up from the 35 they won two years ago, making it the party's second best Westminster result ever. (Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

After Scotland Decisively Rejects Brexit and the Tories in General Election, SNP's Sturgeon Calls for Second Independence Referendum

"Given what I fear the Tory government now has in store for Scotland, that right to choose our own future has never been more important or more urgent."

Julia Conley

Hours after celebrating her party's decisive showing and Scotland's rejection of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom's general election Thursday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Friday said she would move to put forward a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP) won 47 of Scotland's 59 seats in British Parliament Thursday night, with the Tories holding onto just six seats, Labour maintaining one, and the center-left Liberal Democrat party holding onto four seats.

"I have just won an election on the strength of the argument that it's Scotland's right to choose," Sturgeon said Thursday night as she celebrated SNP's landslide.

Sturgeon elaborated on the mandate Friday morning at a podium marked with the words "Scotland's Choice," saying Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson must give Scotland the power to vote on independence.

"I accept regretfully that [Johnson] has a mandate for Brexit in England. But he has no mandate whatsoever to take Scotland out of the European Union... Scotland's future must be in Scotland's hands," Sturgeon said. "Given what I fear the Tory government now has in store for Scotland, that right to choose our own future has never been more important or more urgent."

Sturgeon said she had directed the Scottish government to "publish the detailed democratic case for a transfer of power to enable a referendum to be put beyond legal challenge."

The SNP plans to begin moving toward a referendum next week.

Thursday's election results came five years after Scotland's first independence referendum failed, with 55% of Scots voting to remain in the United Kingdom.

Nearly two years after the first referendum in 2014, Scottish voters decisively voted "Remain" in the first vote on the Conservative' Brexit plan.

The first minister pointed out that Tories in Scotland had run almost exclusively on a message of opposing a Scottish independence referendum.

The rejection of that message was "a strong endorsement...of not having to put up with a Conservative government we didn't vote for and not having to accept life as a nation outside the EU," Sturgeon said.

On social media, other supporters of Scottish independence expressed support for Sturgeon's referendum plan.

After four years of radio silence on Twitter, the Scottish national youth campaign for independence announced its return with a concise message:

As Sturgeon signaled that an independence referendum is likely on the horizon, Ireland's left-wing Sinn Féin party—after winning a majority of Parliament seats—called on the Irish government to "immediately plan for Irish unity" and the British government "to set out in clear and unambiguous terms the circumstance in which a British secretary of state will call a referendum on Irish unity."

Both Ireland and Scotland's signaling of a shift away from the U.K. Brexit plan left some observers considering a possible break-up of the United Kingdom.

"England doesn't care if it loses Scotland and reunites Ireland as long as it gets its Brexit," said one pro-Scottish independence group. "So be it, say Scotland and Ireland."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Naomi Klein: The US Is in the Midst of a 'Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup'

"The rolling judicial coup coming from this court is by no means over," warned the author of "The Shock Doctrine."

Jake Johnson ·

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·

Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·

Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·

Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo