March 28, 2017 / 4:12 PM / in 8 months

Scottish parliament backs bid for new independence referendum

EDINBURGH, March 28 (Reuters) - The Scottish parliament voted on Tuesday to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s bid to hold a new independence referendum in late 2018 or 2019, once the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union have become clearer.

The Edinburgh assembly’s vote, which was widely expected, gives Sturgeon a mandate to seek permission from the British parliament in London to press forward with preparations for a referendum.

Scotland voted against independence in a 2014 referendum, but Sturgeon argues circumstances have changed since then because the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union while Scotland voted strongly to remain in the bloc.

The motion, put forward by Sturgeon, passed by 69 votes in favour and 59 votes against in the Scottish parliament. (Reporting by Russell Cheyne in Edinburgh and Estelle Shirbon in London; editing by Michael Holden)

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