If the vote in the EU referendum on June 23 is for Britain to leave the European Union, it will trigger demands for another referendum on Scotland’s independence, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday, reflecting its major implications for the country’s unity and future.
Scotland narrowly voted to remain in the United Kingdom during the September 2014 referendum. Sturgeon said Scotland wanted to remain in the European Union, but a Brexit will be a strong reason to hold another referendum, given strong pro-EU sentiments in Scotland.
Pro-Brexit Iain Duncan Smith, a cabinet minister in the David Cameron government, claimed that remaining in the EU would make Britain more vulnerable to Paris-style attacks, putting forth another reason for leaving the EU.
Campaigning began in right earnest after Cameron on Saturday announced the deal he had secured in Brussels, with critics calling it minor concessions that would not alter the status quo on the issue of Britain needing to follow EU laws or on the emotive issue migration.
In a major boost to the Brexit camp, the popular Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson decided “after a huge amount of heartache” to campaign for Britain to leave the EU.
Widely tipped as the next Conservative leader, Johnson said the EU was eroding British sovereignty. Cameron’s deal would not bring about fundamental change of its membership, he added. However, he said he would not enter into any public debate with Cameron during the campaigning. Besides John son, the Brexit camp has already enlisted as many as six ministers, including Justice secretary Michael Gove and minister of state for Employment Priti Patel.
The EU referendum has brought rivals on the same side of the campaign: Cameron, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Sturgeon support Britain remaining in the EU. Top Tories such as Gove, Chris Gayling are on the same side as Nigel Farage of UK Independence Party.