Nicola Sturgeon announces she will seek second referendum on Scottish independence

Scottish Party Leaders Participate In A Live STV Debate
Nicola Sturgeon leads the Scottish National Party (Source: Getty)

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she will seek a second referendum for Scottish independence.

Sturgeon will go to MSPs next week to seek approval for a referendum between the autumn of 2018 and spring of 2019, although she said the exact timing of the referendum would be left to the Scottish parliament.

The Scottish National Party leader said the "material change of circumstances" brought about by the Brexit vote justified the repeat of the 2014 referendum, adding "if the Scottish parliament gives me that authority then that should be respected by the UK government."

"The Scottish government's mandate for offering this choice is beyond doubt," Sturgeon said today in Edinburgh.

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Sturgeon accused Prime Minister Theresa May of rejecting Scotland's concerns over Brexit, describing Prime Minister Theresa May's response as a "brick wall of intransigence."

"The UK government has not moved even an inch," Sturgeon said.

The economic case for staying in the UK after Brexit was "significantly more challenging", Sturgeon added, while saying she saw "absolutely no reason" for a hard border if Scotland does achieve independence.

She declined to answer when quizzed on the currency that an independent Scotland should use.

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Scotland voted 45 - 55 to remain part of the UK in 2014, and May's government has regularly insisted that the matter of independence was settled by that vote.

Both the Scottish Conservative and Labour parties have said that there shouldn't be a second vote, although Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn today said that Westminster should not block a referendum if it is approved by Holyrood.

The Scottish government has repeatedly made clear its desire to remain in the Single Market in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Scottish voters largely backed EU membership in last year's Brexit referendum, although it remains unclear whether the prospect of an independent Scotland in the EU would be welcomed by member states.

Polls on Scottish independence have largely shown no uptick in support for quitting the UK since last summer, although one recent survey suggested that public opinion could be evenly balanced.

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