UK Top News

Scottish independence referendum in 2018/19 would not be legal - UK minister

Britain's Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell arrives at 10 Downing Street for a cabinet meeting ahead of the budget in London, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Scotland minister David Mundell has said it would be impossible to have a legal and decisive referendum on Scottish independence in the timeframe demanded by Scotland’s nationalist First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

She has said a referendum should be held in late 2018 or early 2019, when the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union become clear. Britain as a whole voted to leave the EU but Scotland voted to remain in the bloc.

“It would be impossible for people in the timescale suggested by Nicola Sturgeon to make a reasoned view and, therefore, have a legal, fair and decisive referendum,” Mundell told Scotland’s Herald newspaper.

“There is no option for Scotland to remain in the EU as the UK leaves or for Scotland to inherit the UK’s place. There’s an implicit suggestion in the timing of the referendum demand that somehow by having a referendum and by voting for independence you can stop Scotland leaving the EU; that’s absurd.”

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Guy Faulconbridge