- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2016

Thursday’s victory for “Leave” in the Brexit vote may do more than break up the European Union — it may break up the United Kingdom itself.

Less than two years after Scotland voted against seceding from the U.K., its officials said early Friday that their country had been hoodwinked and may leave Britain in order to remain a part of the European Union.

Although the Leave forces won a 52 percent-to-48-percent victory across the whole United Kingdom, there was a much healthier margin in the other direction in Scotland, with 62 percent voting to stay.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who also leads the Scottish National Party (SNP), said “the vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union.”

Joanna Cherry, an SNP member of the U.K. Parliament, accused the rest of Britain of a bait-and-switch and said the Scottish Parliament and her party now has a mandate to re-examine the secession question that had been put to rest in 2014.

“During our independence referendum two years ago, we were repeatedly told that the only way to guarantee Scotland’s continued membership in the European Union was to vote to remain part of the United Kingdom,” Ms. Cherry told CNN.

“Many people voted on the back of that promise. It was a big issue,” she said.

SNP leaders said the Leave vote triggers a plank of the party’s problem, adopted after the independence vote was defeated, saying a new referendum would be justified if the status quo significantly changed.

Ms. Cherry told CNN that “if it now turns out that promise [about EU membership for Scotland] had been broken, then of course there is the ‘material and significant change in circumstances’ which” would justify the Scottish Parliament, which the SNP dominates, “in calling another referendum.”

Alex Salmond, a former Scottish first minister and the longtime SNP head before Ms. Sturgeon, told the BBC that “if there was a Leave vote in England, dragging us out the EU, I’m quite certain Nicola Sturgeon would implement the SNP manifesto.”

Ms. Cherry said the latest referendum proves that “Scotland wants to remain part of the European Union and that is what the Scottish National Party and Scottish government will be doing — fighting to make sure that the democratic will of the voters in Scotland is respected.”

Ironically, two years ago, the European Union and Westminster both argued in the other direction, saying that if Scotland did vote to secede from the UK, the EU might not admit it as a new sovereign state.

Among other things, EU members such as Spain and France wanted to discourage separatists in such regions as Catalonia and Brittany from taking inspiration in an independent Scotland.

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