The 2014 Scottish independence referendum was a defining moment in Scotland’s recent history, giving the people the opportunity to determine their constitutional future. Since then, UK and wider global politics has been shaken by more than one unexpected turn of events.
Many have argued that the new realities of Brexit and, more recently, COVID-19 mean that the citizens of Scotland must be given another opportunity to express their views on the future of the country. Indeed, with differing approaches to the coronavirus crisis among the devolved nations in the UK, the pandemic has turned the spotlight back onto the issue of Scotland’s constitutional future.
Recent polling has consistently shown support for independence exceed 50%, albeit by a narrow margin. Could the pandemic re-energize the debate around the future of devolution in the UK?
Equally, with less than a month to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, there is still no clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The Scottish Government has made its strong opposition to a ‘No Deal’ Brexit clear but with Westminster leading on negotiations, constituent nation governments have had no formal role in the process.
Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, Scottish Government
Chair: Mariot Leslie, Associate Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House