Theresa May rejects call for second Scottish independence referendum
Another independence referendum is unfair because “all the facts” not known. So it can only be fair that we all have the opportunity to reconsider Brexit once they are known.
In Scotland today, Theresa May reiterated her position that “now is not the time” for a second independence referendum. This is despite “now” not being the time that Nicola Sturgeon is calling one for and her call for the prime minister to suggest her own timeframe.
The prime minister also reiterated her position that it was “unfair” to ask the people of Scotland to make a decision “until all the facts were known”.
Also I think it would be unfair on the people of Scotland to ask them to make a significant decision until all the facts were known, at a point where nobody knows what the situation is going to be.
Theresa May, prime minister
We are inclined to agree. But we would extend this statement to the people of the UK and the referendum on EU membership. We were asked to make a decision even though nine months after making it we still do not have “all the facts”. In her speech, Mrs May accepts the fact that “nobody knows what the situation is going to be”. Surely then, we should all have an opportunity to reconsider the next step once we do know what the situation is and have “all the facts” (as opposed to broken promises on big red buses). This can only be when the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is known.
This morning, Labour’s Keir Starmer has said that Labour will hold the government to account using their own words: that Brexit will deliver the “exact same benefits” as our single market and customs union membership. We should all use the prime minister’s own words that “nobody knows what the situation is going to be” and demand an option to reconsider once we do know.
In the Financial Times, chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that the talks needed “full transparency and public debate”. This is a good sign. We may have to count on the EU’s transparency over the talks if we can’t count on our own government’s.
On Wednesday, Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 despite admitting that “nobody knows” what the outcome of doing so will be. She’ll also be triggering Article 50 with the knowledge that her government fought off all amendments that would have given Parliament a safeguard to pursue an alternative path.
It’s too late to stop her. But we can continue demanding an alternative once it’s clear what Brexit actually means when negotiations are in full flow.