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Scottish, Northern Ireland and Wales leaders cast doubt over future of UK

The leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, leaves a polling station in east Glasgow. (Robert Perry/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Addis Ababa, June 24, 2016 (IMC):- Scottish, Northern Ireland and Wales leaders have cast doubt over the future of United Kingdom as we know it in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

 

Scottish leaders who overwhelmingly supported Britain’s membership in the European Union warned Friday of possible renewed bids for independence after British voters turned their backs on the 28-nation bloc.

 

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, said that a second referendum on Scotland’s membership in the United Kingdom was a possibility in the immediate future.

“We will begin to prepare the legislation that would be required to enable a new independence referendum to take place if and when parliament decides,” she told reporters in Edinburgh.

Just two years ago, pro-E.U. Scottish voters rejected independence and opted to remain united with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

Backlash over the outcome of Thursday’s vote also touched Northern Ireland and Wales, pointing to possible internal pressures tearing at Britain even as it looks toward the difficult process of breaking with its European partners.

 

In Thursday’s vote, 62 percent of Scottish voters sided with pro-E.U. “remain” compared with just 47 percent in England.

“I am proud of Scotland and how we voted yesterday,” Sturgeon said. “We proved that we are a modern, outward-looking and inclusive country, and we said clearly that we do not want to leave the European Union.”

“Decisions have consequences,” Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s external affairs minister, told reporters. “If the United Kingdom has made a decision against the interests of the Scottish people, that will have consequences.”

Likewise, in Northern Ireland, 11 of 18 constituencies supported the “remain” campaign.

Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party dedicated to ending British jurisdiction over Northern Ireland, immediately announced that the Brexit results justified a united Ireland. The Republic of Ireland remains a member of the European Union, so when Britain leaves the union the island will now have a new line of partition.

“English votes have overturned the democratic will of Northern Ireland,” Declan Kearney, Sinn Fein’s national chairman, said in a statement Friday morning.

 

In Wales, First Minister Carwyn Jones was quick to express displeasure with the vote. In a statement, Jones said that the referendum was grounds for an entire re-working of the relationships within Britain, putting the country into “entirely different footing.”

 

J.K. Rowling, the Scottish author of the bestselling Harry Potter books, tweeted on Friday that Scotland will surely “seek independence now.”

 

In 2014, Rowling had donated 1 million pounds ($1.38 million) against the cause of Scottish independence, arguing for the continued union of Great Britain.

“Cameron’s legacy will be breaking up two unions,” she wrote Friday of the British prime minister. “Neither needed to happen.” (Source:The Washington Post)