April 18, 2017 / 11:32 AM / 4 months ago

Election a chance for Scotland to boost mandate for independence vote -Sturgeon

EDINBURGH, April 18 (Reuters) - The decision by British Prime Minister Theresa May to call an early election on June 8 gives Scotland a chance to reinforce its democratic mandate to hold an independence referendum, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested on Tuesday.

May unexpectedly announced the early election earlier in a statement outside her Downing Street office in London.

"In terms of Scotland, this move is a huge political miscalculation by the Prime Minister," Sturgeon, whose Scottish National Party (SNP) is seeking a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

"It will once again give people the opportunity to reject the (Conservative government's) narrow, divisive agenda, as well as reinforcing the democratic mandate which already exists for giving the people of Scotland a choice on their future," she said.

Scots voted by a 10-point margin in 2014 to stay part of the United Kingdom, but Sturgeon's party wants a new referendum within the next two years, arguing that the UK's vote to leave the European Union changes circumstances fundamentally.

Scotland voted to stay in the EU in last June's referendum, but the UK as a whole voted for Brexit. (Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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