Scotland’s Parliament voted Tuesday to seek a new referendum on independence from Britain, clearing the way for the country’s first minister, its top lawmaker, to ask the British government to approve such a vote.
The legislature in Edinburgh voted 69-59 to seek Britain’s parliamentary endorsement, which is required, for a referendum that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold within two years — before Britain has completed its departure from the 28-nation European Union.
British voters narrowly approved a departure from the EU last year, and London will begin the formal process leading to Britain’s exit from the union on Wednesday.
Despite the overall vote last year in favor of leaving the EU — based on ballots cast in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — nearly two-thirds of Scottish voters elected to remain in the bloc. Since then, Sturgeon has insisted that independence is the only way for Scotland to maintain its formal EU relationship.
Scottish voters chose not to declare independence from London in a referendum three years ago, but that was months before discussions began about Britain’s possible departure from the Brussels-based EU.