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."
"[Boris Johnson] has no mandate whatsoever to take Scotland out of the EU." SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's desire to stay in the EU has now been "emphatically confirmed" as she lays out plans to have a second referendum on Scottish independence https://t.co/Umridho0k6 pic.twitter.com/UdPUWvuhxJ
— CNN International (@cnni) December 13, 2019
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.
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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.
Reality check. England has perfectly legitimately and clearly expressed its desire for right-wing, anti-immigrant Brexiteerism. It literally doesn't care what Scotland, NI, Wales wants. The 'union' is over. Let's get Scottish independence done.
— Eric Joyce (@ericjoyce) December 12, 2019
The Tories are using their Westminster seat majority to justify a mandate for ‘getting brexit done’. So if that’s their justification, how can they deny that the SNP Westminster seat majority gives them a mandate to hold a Scottish independence referendum?#IndyRef2
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) December 13, 2019
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) December 13, 2019
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 has stated its colours and charted its course. The price will be the breakup of the UK. England doesn’t care if it loses Scotland and reunites Ireland as long as it gets its Brexit. So be it say Scotland and Ireland. Let’s get the job done then
— YES Brechin (@BrechinYes2) December 13, 2019
"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."