MSPs expected to vote for second independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon will argue her government has a 'clear mandate' for indyref2 after Brexit.

MSPs are set to back Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a second independence referendum this year.

The First Minister will argue her government has a “clear mandate” for a such a vote as she leads debate on Scotland’s future.

It comes two days before the UK is formally due to leave the European Union – which Scots voted against.

Sturgeon will argue that independence could give Scots an alternative future in which they could still be part of Europe.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Boris Johnson flatly rejected the First Minister’s calls for Holyrood to have the power to hold a second independence vote.

But the Holyrood motion, which could be passed with the backing of SNP MSPs and the pro-independence Greens, calls for the UK Government to reach an agreement with Scottish ministers “on such a referendum taking place on a date and in a manner determined by the Scottish Parliament”.

The SNP leader has already said she wants to have that ballot in the second half of this year.

Sturgeon said “This government has a clear mandate – to exercise the right of this country to take its future into its own hands.”

As well as voting on the referendum motion, MSPs will also decide if the European flag should remain flying at Holyrood after Brexit.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body had originally agreed that the flag should be lowered at 11pm on Friday, but ministers objected.

Scottish Tories accused the First Minister of “trying to cause a ruckus between Scotland and England in the hope it pushes up support for separation”.

Maurice Golden, the Conservative chief whip at Holyrood, said: “Valuable time in the Scottish Parliament should be used to address the very severe problems in our hospitals or the crisis engulfing our education system.”

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