05:06 GMT23 January 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - The Scottish parliament's rejection of the EU Withdrawal Bill promoted by the UK central government constitutes a possible ploy to trigger a second independence referendum, John Petley, a spokesman for the Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB), told Sputnik on Thursday.

    "We need to keep in mind that the Scottish National Party [SNP] have been struggling for a while now… they are on their way down and so they are clearly desperate for some opportunity to revive their currently flagging fortunes… They would obviously love to make something of a come back… The Scottish parliament can't technically derail the bill, but if the prime minister goes in heavy on them and says we have to go with the bill then there is a possibility that the SNP would get a new lease of life that could cause another independence referendum," Petley explained.

    He added that the proposals by the UK central government providing for temporary restrictions on the devolution of powers in order to ensure an ordered departure from the European law might be viewed by Scotland as a power grab.

    READ MORE: Over 60% of Scots Consider Brexit 'Wrong' Compared to 48% UK Wide — Poll 

    Craig Duncan, the spokesman for the Scottish pro-independence Solidarity group, warned that Prime Minister Theresa May's neglect of devolution of powers will end badly for her.

    "As much as we support independence from the European Union, devolved governments still need to be respected. As soon as you try to take away those powers you're going to ignite problems, and the biggest problem they are likely to ignite is a renewed call to leave the union," Duncan said.

    On Tuesday, the Scottish parliament voted against giving consent to the bill over the uncertain future of devolved powers after Brexit. Despite the fact that the decision of the Scottish parliament does not have direct consequences and is symbolic in its nature, the move may put Prime Minister Theresa May in a precarious position over fears of calls for a second referendum for Scottish independence.

    The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in the referendum in 2016. The majority of Scottish voters opposed Brexit in the plebiscite. The decision to leave the bloc has been repeatedly criticized by Scottish politicians, who claim that the outcome of the vote neglected Edinburgh's will to stay in the European Union.

    The first referendum on independence from London was held in Scotland in 2014 and resulted in 55 percent of voters choosing to remain in the United Kingdom.


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