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Scottish Parliament backs referendum call

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Scottish parliament votes for second Independence referendum; British government refuses to negotiate until Brexit is over; May signs letter that will trigger Brexit.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the letter that will trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union. The letter, giving official notification to other 27 European Union members that Britain has invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, will be delivered to European Council President Donald Tusk by British ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow.

It sets the clock for a two-year negotiation process for Britain’s relationship with the EU as a non-member.

Unless that time-frame is extended, Britain will have left the economic bloc by March 29, 2019. The UK has said it wants an “early agreement” to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the country and those of British nationals living abroad.

Scottish lawmakers meanwhile have voted to seek a new referendum on independence, to be held within the next two years.

The Edinburgh-based legislature voted 69-59 to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call to ask the British government for an independence vote.

Outside, several dozen independence supporters bearing Scottish and EU flags broke into cheers as the news broke.

Sturgeon says Scots must be given the chance to vote on their future before Britain leaves the European Union.

Britain as a whole voted to leave the bloc in a referendum last year, but Scots voted by a large margin to stay.

Scottish voters had earlier rejected independence in a 2014 referendum.

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