Theresa May: "Now is not the time" for a new Scottish independence vote

Mark Sands
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Theresa May Leaves Downing Street To Make A Statement On Brexit To Parliament
The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has given her clearest indication yet that she will block plans for a new Scottish independence referendum in the next two years.

May has said that "now is not the time" for a second vote, despite Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon's call for a ballot to take place between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019.

Speaking to ITV's Robert Peston, May said it would be wrong for any vote to take place before Scots can see Brexit in operation.

"When the SNP government say that now is the time to start talking about a second independence referendum, I say that just at this point all of our energies should be focused on our negotiations with the European Union about our future relationship," May said.

"To be talking about an independence referendum would, I think, make it more difficult for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland and the right deal for the UK."

May's comments were echoed by Scottish Tories leader Ruth Davidson, who today said that any independence referendum should be delayed until after Brexit.

Read More: More than 150,000 people have signed this #IndyRef2 petition

“A referendum cannot happen when the people of Scotland have not been given the opportunity to see how our new relationship with the European Union is working,” Davidson said.

“And it should not take place when there is no clear political or public consent for it to happen.”

Both the Scottish Conservative and Labour parties are against the idea of a second referendum.

However, despite leading a minority administration, Sturgeon is likely to secure enough support when MSPs vote on a motion next week, thanks to the backing of the Scottish Green party.

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