The Scottish Government has said it will consider a second referendum seeking independence from the United Kingdom, if the UK eventually leaves the European Union.
Similarly, there are independence agitations in London, as thousands of people petitioned the city’s mayor, Sadik Khan, urging him to declare London independent. About 200,000 had signed the petition set up by one James O’Malley, as of 3pm on Saturday, onchange.org.
O’Malley told SUNDAY PUNCH via an email correspondence that London would suffer if not in the EU.
“London is a world city and anything that makes it harder to travel, communicate and trade with people elsewhere is going to hurt our city. The economic arguments advanced by the Leave campaign were essentially nonsense. Scotland wants independence again and there are calls in Northern Ireland to reunite with Eire,” he said.
When asked if Khan had the authority to declare London independent, the Briton said, “Not officially! But I hope that the petition will provoke a conversation about devolving more powers to London. Scotland has its own government and can make its own laws – why can’t London? But the people who lose out are not losing because of immigrants or because we’re in Europe, but because of political choices made by British politicians. It is going to be very disappointing when they realise they were sold a lie.”
This is coming on the heels of a petition on the UK parliament website calling for a second EU referendum, which has gathered almost two million signatures in about 24 hours.
The avalanche of signatures led to a crash of the website.
On Thursday, 51.9 per cent of votes were cast to leave the EU as against 48.1 per cent who voted to remain.
The petition, set up by one William Healey, said, “We the undersigned call upon Her Majesty’s government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 per cent based on a turnout less than 75 per cent, there should be another referendum.”
At the time of filing this report, 1,681,930 people had signed the petition. The UK parliament is expected to consider the petition for a debate, while the UK government will also likely respond to the petition.
Meanwhile, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she was meeting with members of her cabinet to decide on the possibility of conducting a second referendum on whether to remain in the UK or not, according to the Scottish government’s official website.
She said, “Let me address the issue of a second independence referendum. The manifesto that the Scottish National Party was elected on last month said this:
‘The Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum. If there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out the EU against our will.’
“Scotland does now face that prospect — it is a significant and material change in circumstances — and it is therefore a statement of the obvious that the option of a second referendum must be on the table. And it is on the table.”