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Scotland makes official bid for new independence vote

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has petitioned Prime Minister May for a new referendum as soon as possible. As the Brexit process begins, Scots are seeking a way to remain in the European Union.

Scotland has officially requested a second independence referendum. On Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May affirming the right of Scots to self-determination within the United Kingdom.

In a video statement, Sturgeon demanded the vote be allowed by early 2019 at the very latest, because "the UK government has decided to remove Scotland not just from the European Union, but from the single market as well. That's clearly against the will of the majority of people who live here and it will make us, in the words of the UK government itself, permanently poorer."

Her words were a reference to a comment made by former conservative finance minister George Osborne in the run-up to the Brexit vote. In last June's ballot, 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the EU.

"The next two years are hugely important for Scotland because they will determine what kind of country we'll become," she said, adding that Brexit will have "enormous implications" for Scottish education, jobs, health care and investment in the region.

'The worst possible time'

May has said that another independence vote would be "divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time." London is already grappling with the financial implications of leaving the single market, as well as the immigration nightmare for EU nationals living in the UK and British nationals living in European countries, amongst myriad other woes.

The prime minister officially triggered the UK's exit from the European Union on Wednesday, although it will take two years for the process to be complete. May will likely try to delay the Scottish vote as long as possible.

Scotland's 2014 referendum saw 55 percent of voters elect to remain part of the UK, though now nationalists are banking on a desire to join their EU as an independent nation to propel their side to victory.

Watch video 06:41

The pros and cons of an independent Scotland: Alyn Smith (Scottish member of the European Parliament) speaks to DW

es/mm (AP, dpa)

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