Call for a Welsh referendum if Scotland votes to leave the UK

Tracy FergusonOct 16, 2016

Sturgeon is leader of the Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scottish independence.

The number of Scottish trade and investment staff working across Europe will be also be doubled as part of efforts to protect the country from the effects of a "hard" Brexit, the First Minister will tell delegates in her closing address to the SNP conference in Glasgow.

But while Scotland's First Minister opened the SNP's party conference by announcing a draft independence referendum bill, she closed it with a unifying message.

A survey published by BMG for Scotland's Herald newspaper this week showed support for independence at 45 percent and at 55 percent for the status quo - the same as the 2014 result.

In a speech dominated by the fallout from the European Union referendum - which saw the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, but a majority in Scotland coming out in support of Remain - Sturgeon said her feeling on the morning of the result gave her "a new insight into how those who voted No might have felt if 2014 had gone the other way".

During the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, much was made of the fact that it was supposed to be a once-in-a-generation decision.

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Nicola Sturgeon promised us that she would respect that result and said the referendum would put the issue to bed for a "generation". They were joined in that view by residents of London and Northern Ireland, but a majority of British voters cast ballots in favor of leaving the 28-nation bloc.

"Make no mistake, the growth of our economy right now is threatened not just by the prospect of losing our place in the single market - disastrous though that would be", she is expected to tell Glasgow's SECC.

Scottish government sources say that this may be creating an anomaly, and that Scotland's options over its border with England should also get an open hearing.

The SNP will also put forward a series of "specific proposals" aimed at protecting Scotland's interests in Europe and keeping the country in the single market "even if the rest of the United Kingdom decides to leave". After last week in Birmingham, there can be no doubt - the choice we face has never been so stark.

Addressing UK Prime Minister Theresa May, she added: "If you think for one single second that I'm not serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland's interests, then think again".

Scottish Tories' leader Ruth Davidson has warned refusal would provoke a backlash and boost the independence case, as happened in Catalonia when Madrid blocked a vote on autonomy.

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When asked if she hopes to see Plaid Cymru's aim of independence within the European Union achieved in her political lifetime, she said: "Being a member fo Plaid, I would certainly hope for it".

Earlier, she attempted to turn the tables on the Tories' by arguing their full name should be the Conservative and Separatist Party rather than the Conservative and Unionist Party.

The Scottish Greens welcomed Sturgeon's announcement of a consultation on a new referendum bill.

Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative leader said: "Nicola Sturgeon could have set out a positive, constructive vision for how the country progresses together".

Ms Davidson said the SNP conference had been about "keeping the activists happy with threats of a second independence referendum".

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