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Nicola Sturgeon confirms plans for second Scottish independence referendum

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence

13 March 2017, 12:56pm
Nicola Sturgeon was speaking at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh
Nicola Sturgeon was speaking at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will ask Scottish parliament to vote next week for second independence referendum.

Speaking at a press conference at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh ahead of the final vote in the Commons later on Monday on Theresa May’s plans to trigger Article 50 to leave the UK, Sturgeon said she will act to ensure Scotland has a choice at the end of this process.

“I knows some want her to rule out a referendum completely and she understands that view. But if I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding Scotland would follow the UK to a hard Brexit unilaterally, no matter how damaging,” Sturgeon said. “The people will decide Scotland's future - it will be Scotland's choice.”

Sturgeon said the people of Scotland must be offered a choice between a "hard Brexit" and becoming an independent country.

Scotland voted to remain in the European Union by 62% to 38%, while the UK as a whole voted to leave.

“Scotland’s choices must be clear and up to date. The 2014 and 2016 referendum results cannot be dismissed. But circumstances have changed,” she said.

“There has been a material change of circumstances. Scotland needs to decide its future in a fair, free and democratic way.”

Scotland voted to stay part of the United Kingdom in 2014 but Sturgeon vowed to give the country another opportunity to decide its future if May opted for taking Britain out of the single market.

Scotland's requests relating to Britain's exit from the European Union had hit a "brick wall," the SNP leader said. 

She accused the UK government of abandoning the "language of partnership" after talks between the Scottish administration and Westminster regarding Brexit had begun positively. 

"I cannot pretend to the Scottish people that a compromise looks even remotely likely," Sturgeon said. 

Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year, vying for a date “when the options are clearer than they are now, but while it is still possible for Scotland to stay in the bloc.”