Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland would demand a second independence referendum should the UK vote to leave the EU.
The SNP leader, whose MEPs sit with the Greens and Welsh nationalists in the European Party to form one of its most left wing groups, said SNP MPs would seek to amend an EU referendum bill to insist on a ‘double majority’ meaning each of the four countries in the UK would have to vote separately.
Currently, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are counted as ‘regions’ in the European Union where as England is split up into nine separate regions, each with its own number of MEPs depending on population size.
The SNP lost the independence referendum by 55 per cent to 45 per cent after a last minute panic by Cameron, Clegg and Miliband who offered ‘devo max’ to the Scottish voters if they stayed part of the UK.
But despite saying that the referendum was a “once in a generation” event, Sturgeon is using the weight which her MPs in Westminster will carry to make many wish that independence had taken place.
The First Minister had previously said that “something substantial” would need to change before another vote was held, but speaking to the Daily Mail she stipulated that Brexit would meet those criteria.
While being more left leaning and pro-EU than most other areas of the UK, Scotland has been turning increasingly eurosceptic with the country returning a UKIP MEP last May. David Coburn took the seat of Lib Dem George Lyon to be the party’s first elected representative north of the border.
“If there was an out vote across the UK and Scotland wants to stay in. I suspect if we were in those circumstances there would be a clamour of people across Scotland to look again at the independence question, whether I’m proposing it or not,” she said.
“But what I’m talking about with a change of circumstances, it’s not me trying to pluck out the conditions out of thin air. I do mean it – there will have to be a change in circumstances and we haven’t even started the process of the 2016 manifesto [for Scottish Parliament elections] yet.”
The woman – dubbed ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain’ stipulated that as leader it would be her, not Mr Salmond or Angus Robertson who would lead negotiations in the event of a hung parliament. Following a huge surge in popularity following September’s vote, the SNP are set to take as many as 50 seats, including key front bench constituencies. In the event of a hung Parliament, it would leave the nationalist wielding power particularly with Ed Miliband who is the party she would most likely be in negotiations with.
However, with the European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker ruling out any renegotiations before he left office in November 2019, the ground looks shaky for a referendum unless the Tories do win an outright majority along with UKIP and DUP MPs to bolster the eurosceptic vote.