Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Friday wrote to British Prime Minister Theresa May formally demanding that she allow a second referendum to be held on Scottish independence ahead of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.
The results of the June Brexit referendum called the country's future into question because most voters in England and Wales opted to leave the EU but most voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland wanted to stay.
Scotland's devolved parliament on Tuesday voted to hold a referendum on secession in 2018 or 2019, but the UK government in Westminster must give its approval before any such poll can he held.
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) March 31, 2017
Having gained the mandate from the Scottish Assembly, Sturgeon penned a Section 30 letter to May to formally request she begin talks on facilitating the vote, something the UK government has already said it would reject.
A Section 30 order is the formal mechanism by which the UK government would temporarily hand power to the Scottish Assembly to organise a referendum.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) March 31, 2017
Scots rejected independence in a 2014 vote by 55 to 45 percent, but Sturgeon says circumstances have changed because, while the UK as a whole voted for Brexit, Scots strongly backed remaining in the EU.
May has said it was not the right time for another referendum as the complex two-year divorce talks between the UK, the world's fifth-largest economy, and its 27 EU partners get underway.
A spokesman for May said the UK government would respond in due course but ruled out discussions on a second secession vote.
"At this point, all our focus should be on our negotiations with the European Union, making sure we get the right deal for the whole of the UK," the spokesman said.
The picture of Sturgeon came just two days after a similar photograph of May was issued showing her signing the letter which formally announced Britain's intent to leave the bloc.
May was shown sitting alone at the Downing Street cabinet table beneath a clock, a British flag, and an oil painting of Britain's first prime minister, Robert Walpole.