Scotland today announced the first step towards holding a referendum on its independence from the UK with its leader saying the country "had the right" to choose a different path if it was not allowed to protect its interests "within the UK". Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish National Party's conference in Glasgow that an Independence Referendum Bill would be published next week, which marks the first step towards holding a referendum. "I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence and to do so before the UK leaves the EU - if that is necessary to protect our country's interests.
So, I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week," Sturgeon said. Scotland had the right to choose a different path if it was not allowed to protect its interests "within the UK" in reference to UK's vote to leave the European Union (EU) in June, she said. Scotland by contrast had voted decisively to stay within the economic bloc. Those who voted in Scotland backed remaining in Europe by 62 per cent to 38 per cent while the UK as a whole backed leave, by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent. The first Scottish independence referendum, which took place in September 2014, resulted in a 55 per cent vote against independence. Sturgeon insisted that British Prime Minister Theresa May needed to respect the 62 per cent who voted to remain in the EU otherwise a second vote may go differently. She also confirmed that Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs would oppose Brexit legislation when it comes before the House of Commons in 2017. "The prime minister may have a mandate to take England and Wales out of the EU but she has no mandate whatsoever to remove any part of the UK from the single market," Sturgeon said.
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