SNP set stage for Scottish independence referendum 

August 22, 2021 - 13:23

Scotland's ruling party has announced a landmark power-sharing deal for a pro-independence majority in the devolved parliament in Edinburgh, giving the Greens Party their first ministerial positions in UK politics.

The agreement between the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Green Party needs to be approved by members but strengthens ties between the two parties, both of whom back a new vote on independence from the United Kingdom. 

The agreement promises to deliver another referendum before the end of the first half of the current parliamentary session in 2024.

The last independence referendum in Scotland in 2014 saw 55 percent vote against cutting ties with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, since Brexit where the majority of Scots voted in favor of remaining in the UK, there is a stronger sense of belief among pro-independence leaders that a second referendum will bring a different result. 

First Minister and SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, hopes to secure the so-called "indyref2", despite strong opposition from the UK government in London.

At a joint press conference at her Edinburgh residence, she says "for my part, I am determined there will be an independence referendum in this parliament. We (the SNP and the Scottish Green Party) are choosing to work together and we are doing so not out of necessity but for the common good”.

Sturgeon added that "we also in this agreement reaffirm our shared commitment to securing independence."

The deal is not a coalition, however, according to its text; the Greens will get two ministerial positions. Appointments have yet to be announced. The party’s co-leader, Patrick Harvie, hailed the agreement as a "historic moment" but insisted the two parties would retain their "distinctive voices".

The Scottish Greens have just eight seats in the 129-seat parliament in Edinburgh. 

The SNP, which has been banking on Scottish opposition to the UK departure from the European Union; as well as Britain’s controversial nuclear weapons program, Trident, based in Scotland, has 64, just short of an overall majority.