Thursday 13 October 2016 11:22 am

Nicola Sturgeon confirms legislation for second Scottish independence referendum will be published next week

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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this morning that legislation for a second independence referendum will be published for consultation next week.

"I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence – and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country's interests," she said.

"So I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week."

Scotland voted No to independence in 2014, with 55.3 per cent voting against splitting from the rest of the UK and 44.7 per cent voting in favour.

Sturgeon was speaking at the opening of the SNP's party conference in Glasgow, giving a speech in which she accused the Tory party of adopting Ukip policy and "Farage-style rhetoric".

Addressing Theresa May directly, the First Minister said: "It's high time you showed some respect for the 62 per cent of people across Scotland who voted to Remain."

She continued: "Scotland didn't choose to be in this situation – your party put us here. In 2014, you told us Scotland was an equal partner in the UK. Well, the moment has come to prove it.

"If you value the UK – as you say you do – it's up to you to prove it can work for Scotland. The ball is in your court."

Turnout for the first Scottish independence referendum in 2014 was almost 85 per cent (Source: Getty)

Sturgeon said in May that a second Scottish independence referendum was "more likely than not" during her tenure as First Minister.

And in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote in June, Sturgeon said she had begun preparations for another referendum before the end of 2018. Sturgeon had campaigned for a Remain vote.

Last month the Scottish leader said the case for independence remained as important as it ever was and "ultimately transcends the issue of Brexit".

She has also previously voiced her support for maintaining access to the Single Market and dismissed the idea that a so-called hard Brexit is absolutely necessary.