The Scottish Government has published on Monday a draft bill to hold a second independence referendum, with a promise to hold the vote “when the public health crisis is over”.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has indicated that the aim would be to hold this new referendum between 2021 and 2023, coinciding with the first legislative term of the future Parliament elected in the May 6 election.

This draft outlines some of the keys to a possible future second referendum, including the wording of the question on the ballot paper.

“Should Scotland be an independent country?” will be the question that Scots would have to answer, the same formula used in the 2014 referendum, in which the “no” to independence won. However, and after the fiasco, the Electoral Commission has pointed out on previous occasions that the question should be reformulated, reports ‘Holyrood’ magazine.

The Scottish Secretary for Constitutional Relations, Michael Russell, has remarked that the Government’s priority will continue to be the recovery from the health crisis, but they consider that “it should be the people living in Scotland who have the right to decide what that recovery will look like and what kind of country to build after the pandemic”.

Russell also pointed out that this draft will have to be introduced in Parliament if the government elected after the May elections so wishes. Although the project will prosper in the Scottish institutions, in order to be held it would have to be authorized by the British Government, something that has so far been ruled out by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

The Conservative opposition has accused the government of publishing this new draft to divert attention from the case in which the chief minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, is involved, and of which she has been acquitted this Monday by the former attorney general of Ireland James Hamilton.


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