October 15, 2018 / 7:08 PM / 2 years ago

Scottish independence fundraiser gets fast start amid Brexit nerves

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Political and civic groups backing Scottish independence from the United Kingdom started a fundraising drive on Monday to push support for secession above 50 percent.

'Yes' campaigners holding Scottish Saltire flags gather for a rally in George Square, Glasgow, Scotland September 17, 2014. The referendum on Scottish independence will take place on September 18, when Scotland will vote whether or not to end the 307-year-old union with the rest of the United Kingdom. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

The initiative is a sign of growing frustration with Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to take Britain out of the European Union, as well as pressure on Scotland’s pro-independence first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

With less than six months to go before Britain leaves the EU, May’s government has yet to agree a divorce deal.

Sturgeon has said she will wait to see the detail of any agreement before deciding on Scotland’s own path.

The website “ThisIsIt”, which pools 18 Scottish nationalist groups, said it was seeking funds to pay for the professional campaign needed to push up public support for independence.

“Scotland did not vote for Theresa May’s disastrous vision of Brexit,” it said. “The crisis we face shows that Scotland must go its own way.”

The campaign raised over 12,000 pounds ($15,780) within a few hours on Monday, just over a third of its initial target. It aims to raise 180,000 pounds in total.

Scotland voted 62-38 percent to stay in the EU in Britain’s referendum on membership in June 2016, two years after rejecting independence by 55-45 percent in another, legally binding, plebiscite.

Britain as a whole voted 52-48 to leave the EU, taking Scotland with it.

Sturgeon says that the only solution to Scotland’s Brexit “problem” is independence. But she is wary of calling for a new vote only for May to refuse to consider it. Britain’s parliament, which is sovereign, needs to sign off on any new referendum.

Sturgeon has tried to persuade May to keep the UK in the EU’s single market after Brexit, but many in May’s own conservative party want to break with the EU altogether.

Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by John Stonestreet

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