November 27, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a second independence referendum as soon as next year, The Times newspaper reported.

The pro-independence Scottish National Party leader said she anticipates that a vote will take place “in the earlier part” of the next Scottish parliament, which begins next year, The Times said.

“Scotland should have the opportunity to choose whether to become independent in the earlier, rather than the later, part of the next parliament,” Sturgeon told ITV Border, according to the Times.

Scots voted 55-45 percent against independence in a 2014 referendum but both Brexit and the British government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis have bolstered support for independence among Scots.

The past 14 opinion surveys have shown that Scots support independence. Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party is expected to perform strongly in elections to the Scottish parliament in May.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the 2014 independence referendum was decisive and should be respected. His government says there should not be another independence referendum in the near future.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Sarah Young)

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