LONDON, England: A second referendum on Scottish independence is set to be held in October 2023.
The Scottish government, led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party, published a referendum bill outlining plans for the secession vote to take place on Oct. 19, 2023.
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she would be seeking permission from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold a consultative referendum, but has already set in motion plans to seek legal authority if London attempts to block the vote.
"The issue of independence cannot be suppressed. It must be resolved democratically. And that must be through a process that is above reproach and commands confidence," Sturgeon told lawmakers in the Scottish Parliament.
"What I am not willing to do, what I will never do, is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister."
Although Scotland's voters had voted against independence in 2014, Britain's departure from the European Union, which was opposed by a majority of Scots, is the driving force behind a second vote.
Johnson has previously refused to issue a "Section 30" order, which gives authority to the Scottish parliament to hold a referendum, and said the main priority for Britain was the economic pressures the country faced.
His spokesman later reiterated that the government believed this was not the time to be discussing a new referendum.
Sturgeon said that the legality of holding a referendum without permission from the British government was uncertain, and so she had already asked the Lord Advocate, the senior Scottish Law Officer, to refer the question to the UK's Supreme Court.
If the court finds that the Scottish parliament could not hold an independence referendum without the prime minister's consent, Sturgeon said the SNP would instead fight the next UK election on a platform of whether Scotland should become independent.