A second vote on Scottish independence is "highly likely" before 2020

Lynsey Barber
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Nicola Sturgeon Addresses The Scottish National Party Conference 2016
Another referendum is probably coming post-Brexit (Source: Getty)

Get the date in your diary and start making plans (whether it's to make sure you're around to vote, or to escape the whole thing) - another vote on Scottish independence is "highly likely" before 2020.

That means within the next three years, Scotland could be heading to the polls for a second time, according to First Minster Nicola Sturgeon.

"I think it’s highly likely, given the situation we’re in, I said that actually the morning after the EU referendum and nothing has changed my mind," she said, speaking on the Peston on Sunday show on ITV.

Read more: Sturgeon to declare Scotland "open for business" with Brexit trade hub plan

She continued:

"If anything, what’s happened since then has probably made me think that even more so than I did the morning after the referendum. Now that’s not to say that I am not absolutely serious about trying to explore all these other options - I am.

But we have to see the Prime Minister be serious about listening to those other options, because if Scotland really is as we’ve been told repeatedly that we are an equal partner in the UK, Theresa May is serious about protecting the UK, then it’s time for her to turn those words into action and actually demonstrate that Scotland’s voice is heard and our interests can be protected within the UK.

We’ve not seen much of that from the Prime Minister so far, so I hope we see more of it in the weeks to come."

It follows Sturgeon's unveiling of a plans for new post-Brexit trade hubs for Scotland, which voted in favour of staying in Europe.

Sturgeon has already called for Scotland to retain its membership of the Single Market, something Britain looks increasingly likely to leave with plans by the government signalling a so-called hard Brexit, putting the country in a rather awkward position.

Read more: The case for Scottish independence remains, Sturgeon says

She last week announced that a draft bill on independence will be published this week.

She continued on the Sunday morning show: "And that’s why next week I’ll publish for consultation a draft referendum bill, so that we’re taking those steps to protect that position, because you know if we don’t manage to avert a hard Brexit UK-wide, if we don’t manage to get the Prime Minister to look at particular options for Scotland, then I don’t think it’s right that Scotland is forced down a path that’s going to damage our economy, cost jobs, lower living standards without at least having the option of choosing a different path, and I’m determined that we protect our ability to make that choice."

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