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British parties divided over Scottish independence

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on December 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:34s

British parties divided over Scottish independence

The leader of Scotland's ruling SNP says the UK's ruling Conservatives need to face up to the "reality" of a fresh referendum on Scottish independence.

David Doyle reports.

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British parties divided over Scottish independence

Fresh from Thursday's (December 12) election victory, British cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Sunday (December 15) that the issue of Brexit would be concluded next year.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH CABINET MINISTER, MICHAEL GOVE, SAYING: "We'll be in a position, as I say, to leave the European Union before the 31st of January of next year, and then we will have concluded our conversations with the EU about the new framework of free trade and friendly cooperation that we will have with them by the end of next year." But, more than three years after the UK voted to leave the EU, another referendum is back in the headlines amid calls from Nicola Sturgeon, leader of Scotland's ruling Scottish National Party, for a poll on independence.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY LEADER, NICOLA STURGEON, SAYING: "I've just won an election in Scotland on the proposition that people should have a choice over our future... Now I accept that the Tories will rage against reality for as long as they can, but the fact of the matter is, Scotland has chosen a very different kind of future to the one chosen by much of the rest of the UK." A referendum was held in Scotland in 2014, with independence rejected by a margin of 55% to 45% - but Sturgeon argues that Brexit has changed the situation, as Scotland voted against leaving the European Union.

But the Conservatives have rejected the SNP's position.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH CABINET MINISTER, MICHAEL GOVE, SAYING: "We had a referendum on whether or not Scotland should be separate from the United Kingdom in 2014.

We were told that that referendum would settle the question for a generation.

In this general election, we have just seen what happens when politicians try to overturn a referendum result." Gove also said on Sunday that Britain's beloved National Health Service would be the government's top domestic priority.

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