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28 March 2017

Scottish Parliament votes in favour of a second independence referendum

The UK government was quick to respond. 

By Julia Rampen

The Scottish Parliament has voted for a second independence referendum by a margin of 10 votes on the eve of Westminster triggering Article 50. 

After hours of debate – postponed after last week’s terrorism attack at Westminster – the MSPs voted 69 to 59 to back the First Minister’s call to trigger Section 30 of the Scotland Act.

MSPs voted for a Green amendment which demands votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, but amendments by Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems were defeated. 

Nicola Sturgeon took Westminster by surprise in early March when she announced she would be seeking a second independence referendum for Scotland to decide before it was “too late to choose a different path”. 

The Scottish Parliament can vote to demand a second referendum, it still needs permission from Westminster to hold one. So far, the Prime Minister has refused to countenance one before Brexit. After the vote, Scottish secretary David Mundell reinforced this message, suggesting a vote could not take place until the 2020s. 

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However, some unionists quietly fear that a tussle between Westminster and Holyrood over powers will only play in the nationalists’ favour.