If the United Kingdom separates from the European Union, Scotland will vote for its independence by May 2021, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Wednesday.

Brexit would have such a catastrophic effect on the country’s economy as would rushing into an immediate decision before an informed Brexit path had been agreed upon, Sturgeon said.

For that reason, with the approval of the U.K. government, she plans to introduce legislation to hold a second referendum. The first took place in 2016 after Britain first threatened to break with the E.U. and the nation voted to stay within the U.K.

“If we are to safeguard Scotland’s interests, we cannot wait indefinitely.

“Brexit has exposed a deep democratic deficit at the heart of how Scotland is governed. And, whatever our different views on independence, it should persuade all of us that we need a more solid foundation on which to build our future as a country,” Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament.

“With all of our assets and talents, Scotland should be a thriving and driving force within Europe. Instead we face being forced to the margins – sidelined within a UK that is, itself, increasingly sidelined on the international stage. Independence, by contrast, would allow us to protect our place in Europe.”

Opinion polls show that the majority of Scots would support joining the European Union as an independent state as well as a second referendum within the next 10 years.

Encouraging an attitude of flexibility and cooperation within the various parties, Sturgeon said, “That is why I consider that a choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of this parliament.

“I can confirm that the Scottish government will act to ensure that the option of giving people a choice on independence later in this term of parliament is progressed.”

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