by Abigail Taylor
Prime Minister Theresa May has dropped an almighty bomb today – a snap general election has been called for June 8.
MPs are set to vote on the election as soon as tomorrow, but what does this mean for Scotland and more importantly, Indyref 2? Nicola Sturgeon has made it clear that she wants a second referendum as soon as next autumn; however, this election puts those plans in great jeopardy.
No more Mrs Maybe
A hard Brexit is what May wants, and that is what she is planning to get. “Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back”, she said. “And as we look to the future, the government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe”.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has made her party’s plans very clear, commenting: “At this election, the choice again will be clear: A Tory Party intent on a hard Brexit; or a Labour Party that will oppose a second independence referendum and fight for a better future for everybody”.
Sturgeon has taken to Twitter to oppose May’s plan to “force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts. Let’s stand up for Scotland”. She continued to criticise “one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history.
“The SNP will always put the people of Scotland first, and between now and June 8, we will work harder than ever to retain the trust of the people”.
EU negotiations were expected to start after the summer recess of parliament. However, that is now expected to change. Article 50, the route to leaving the European union, was invoked on March 29, much to the disappointment of Scottish voters, as 62% of Scotland backed remain on June 23 last year.
As the election period is fast approaching with first council elections and now a general election, Sturgeon has urged those who can and are able to vote to register as early as possible.
The fate of the SNP will be one of the most interesting spectacles of this next general election: Can they maintain the form they showed in 2015? Have the Scottish voters tired of the (at times) phantom independence referendum calls?
Two other parties to watch will be UKIP and the Liberal Democrats. Tim Farron has been saying the Lib Dems are chasing the Tories in local elections in England, but can they increase the handful of MPs they currently have?
Meanwhile, with Douglas Carswell now an independent and the EU referendum ‘won’, will UKIP be seen as the party to, once again, hold the government to account on their plans for Brexit?
More to follow on this story.