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Scots second referendum ‘divisive’ at time of uncertainty – UK Government

Downing Street said another referendum “would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time”.

A second Scottish independence referendum would be “divisive” and “cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time”, the UK Government has said.

After Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed her intention to call a fresh vote to give Scots a choice between Brexit and leaving the UK, a UK Government spokesman said she should focus on delivering good public services for Scotland.

The spokesman also pointed out that Scotland voted “decisively” to remain in the UK in 2014, in a referendum the Scottish Government described as “once in a generation”.

Ms Sturgeon said that next week she will “seek the authority of the Scottish Parliament to agree with the UK Government the details of a section 30 order – the procedure that will enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum”.

A UK Government spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister has set out, the UK Government seeks a future partnership with the EU that works for the whole of the United Kingdom.

“The UK Government will negotiate that agreement, but we will do so taking into account the interests of all of the nations of the UK.

“We have been working closely with all the devolved administrations – listening to their proposals, and recognising the many areas of common ground, including workers’ rights, the status of EU citizens living in the UK and our security from crime and terrorism.

“Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish Government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote.

“The evidence clearly shows that a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum. Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.

“The Scottish Government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people in Scotland.”

Jeremy Corbyn confirmed Labour’s intention to oppose a second referendum in the Scottish Parliament, but would not seek to block it in Westminster if the idea is backed by Holyrood.

The European Commission indicated an independent Scotland would have to apply to join the EU, rather than automatically being a member.

Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the “Barroso doctrine” continued to apply.

Former commission president Jose Manuel Barroso set out the legal view that if one part of an EU country became an independent state it would have to apply for EU membership.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said his party would oppose a second independence referendum and warned that Scotland could find itself outside both the UK and EU.

He said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats stood for election last year on a platform to oppose a new independence referendum. That is what we will do.”

Former first minister Alex Salmond has “absolutely no doubt there will be a resounding vote in favour of independence” in a second referendum.

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