MPS are to debate a second referendum on Scottish independence next month, after demand from hundreds of thousands of voters.

More than 35,000 people signed a petition on the parliament’s website calling on the government to “agree to a second referendum on Scottish independence”.

But furious British nationalists also submitted their own petition saying “another Scottish independence referendum should not be allowed to happen”.

Loading article content

More than 220,000 people have signed that one, which says “we in Scotland are fed up of persecution by the SNP leader who is solely intent on getting independence at any cost. As a result, Scotland is suffering hugely.”

Now, members of the House of Commons Petitions Committee have organised a non-binding, Westminster Hall debate on the issue of a second referendum for November 13.

The pro-indyref2 petition, first lodged with the Commons website late last year, states: “The actions of the UK government after the Brexit vote do not align with the people of Scotland. We are not bigoted. We are not racist. We welcome everybody based on their contribution, not on where they come from. The UK government does not behave in this way and so we must LEAVE.”

In their response to both, the UK Government said now was “not the time for a second independence referendum.”

“The UK needs to work together, putting all our energies into ensuring we get the right deal for the UK and for Scotland in our negotiations with the EU.

“In 2014, the people of Scotland decided in a legal, fair and decisive referendum to remain part of the UK. The Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 committed both the UK and Scottish Governments to respecting the outcome of the Scottish referendum. In 2016 the people of the UK voted to leave the EU. The result of both votes must be respected.

“As the Prime Minister has made clear, now is not the time for another damaging and divisive referendum. All our focus should be on our negotiations with the European Union, making sure we get the best deal for the whole of the UK as we leave. And, it would be unfair to the people of Scotland to ask them to make a crucial decision without the necessary information about our future relationship with Europe. Scotland’s two governments should be working together, not pulling apart, at this crucial time.”

Earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told delegates at the SNP’s conference that she still had a mandate to hold another vote on Scottish independence.

“As I have always said, Scotland should have the right to choose our future when the terms of Brexit are clear,” Sturgeon said. “We have a mandate to give the people that choice.That mandate was won fairly and squarely. But exercising it must be done with the interests of all of Scotland at heart.

“People want clarity about Brexit first. We respect that. But to all of you here in this hall and across our country who are impatient for change, let me say this. We may not yet know exactly when the choice will be made.

“But we can, we must, and we will always make the case for independence.

With the UK government so engulfed in chaos and taking the country down a path of self imposed decline, the need to do so has never been greater.”

MSPs voted 69 to 59 to trigger Section 30 of the Scotland Act, the start of the legal process to allow a referendum, back in March.

After the SNP’s losses in June’s snap General Election, Sturgeon slowed her plans down.