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Scottish parliament to hold its own vote on triggering Brexit

Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, addresses the party's annual conference in Glasgow, Scotland October 15, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland’s devolved parliament will vote on the triggering of Article 50, which formally starts the process of Britain leaving the European Union, even though its vote is not binding, the pro-independence devolved government said on Thursday.

The vote, to be held on Tuesday, is a fresh sign of tension in the three-centuries-old bond between Scotland, which voted to keep EU membership last June, and England, which voted to leave.

The Scottish government believes the Edinburgh assembly’s vote will send a strong signal of Scotland’s desire to retain ties with the EU.

Scots rejected independence in a referendum in 2014. But Nicola Sturgeon’s ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) says Britain’s overall decision to leave the EU last June has created the conditions for another independence vote.

“The Scottish government believes that given the fundamental change to our constitutional arrangements involved by triggering formal withdrawal from the European Union, and the direct effects on the devolved responsibilities, the Scottish parliament should be invited to give its view before the Bill is passed, and that the UK Government should respect the views of the parliament,” it said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was forced by a Supreme Court ruling to draft a new law giving her the right to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, rather than being able to start the process without the approval of the national parliament at Westminster as she had intended.

May cleared the first legislative hurdle for the bill on Wednesday but it will face more scrutiny by lawmakers next week.

The Supreme Court ruling also said the consent of Britain’s devolved assemblies of Scotland and Northern Ireland, who both voted to remain, and Wales, which voted to leave, was not legally necessary for the process to start.

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; Editing by Catherine Evans