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Summary

  1. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces independence referendum will be between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019
  2. Ms Sturgeon says she will seek Scottish Parliament approval for a second independence referendum next week
  3. The franchise and question in the second independence referendum is for the Scottish Parliament to decide says the first minister

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's all from us on yet another historic day in Scottish politics

That's all from us on yet another historic day in Scottish Politics, on 13 March 2017.

Today Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.

Nicola Sturgeon to call indyref2 in autumn 2018 or spring 2019

That would coincide with the expected conclusion of the UK's Brexit negotiations.

The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU.

She will ask the Scottish Parliament next Tuesday to request a Section 30 order from Westminster.

PM: SNP 'tunnel vision' over independence 'deeply regrettable'

Prime Minister Theresa May has so far avoided saying whether or not she would grant permission.

Responding to Ms Sturgeon's announcement, Mrs May said a second independence referendum would set Scotland on course for "uncertainty and division" and insisted that the majority of people in Scotland did not want another vote on the issue.

She added: "The tunnel vision that SNP has shown today is deeply regrettable.

"Instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the Scottish government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of Scotland. Politics is not a game."

Rennie says SNP's policy risks leaving Scotland outside of the EU and outside of the UK


          Willie Rennie: "I am going to stand up for strong liberal values."
PA
Willie Rennie: "I am going to stand up for strong liberal values."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Ms Sturgeon's SNP had been "working towards this announcement for months" and were "determined to contrive a way to ignore their promise that 2014 was 'once in a generation'."

He added: "There is no wide public support for a new and divisive referendum. The big concern is that the SNP's policy risks leaving Scotland outside of the EU and outside of the UK."

Alex Salmond dismisses claim that Nicola Sturgeon was "pushed"

Former first minister Alex Salmond has rubbished a Sky News report that Nicola Sturgeon was "pushed into seeking a second Scottish independence referendum by Alex Salmond and others".

View more on twitter

'Scotland's first minister has gone the whole hog' says Laura Kuenssberg

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May
bbc
Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May

Before the Parliamentary drama over the first part of Brexit is even done, another dramatic twist in this most tangled of plots.

Early this morning, Nicola Sturgeon announced she would be giving an "important speech" today in the grand surroundings of Bute House, her official residence.

Among SNP sources, the chatter was that she would give an ultimatum to Theresa May that if she could not negotiate a differentiated Brexit deal for Scotland she would push for a second independence referendum.

Forget that. Scotland's first minister has gone the whole hog, saying she will next week push the button on a second independence referendum by putting legislation to the Scottish Parliament.

Read more here

Carmichael: 'This is something that the people of Scotland do not want'

Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland, said Nicola sturgeon had plunged Scotland into further uncertainty. 

He told the BBC News channel: "All of us in whatever part of the UK we are in face an enormous amount of uncertainty as a result of the vote last June. This is one of the few things you could imagine that could make this worse. 

"This is something that the people of Scotland do not want, they do not need and it should not be happening."

Alistair Carmichael
BBC

He added: "This is not about Brexit, this is about the obsession that the SNP have with getting Scotland out of the United Kingdom, breaking up the United Kingdom and frankly if it wasn't this, it would be something else. That's never going to change."  

Kezia Dugdale in warning over 'turbo-charged austerity'

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told the BBC News Channel that she was "angry and disappointed" by Nicola Sturgeon's announcement. 

She warned that Scottish independence would lead to "turbo-charged austerity". 

Kezia Dugdale
BBC

She added: "What I can't help but conclude is that they [the SNP] are offering false hope to the poorest communities of this country and that's why, once again, it will come down to the Labour party to make the case for the alternative, to stand up for public services and to make that case for why we should remain part of the United Kingdom."   

Scottish Conservative leader says Nicola Sturgeon has been 'utterly irresponsible'

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson
Getty Images
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Nicola Sturgeon had been "utterly irresponsible" and had "given up acting as first minister for all of Scotland".

Ms Davidson added: "People have said time and again they do not want to go back to the division of a second referendum.

"Nicola Sturgeon promised the 2014 referendum would be 'once in a generation'.

"Today she has ignored the majority in Scotland who do not want a referendum and has decided instead to double down on division and uncertainty."

Summary: First minister to seek second independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon to call indyref2 in autumn 2018 or spring 2019

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence .

Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.

The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU.

She said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week to request a Section 30 order from Westminster.

Prime Minister Theresa May has so far avoided saying whether or not she would grant permission.

Her official spokesman responded to Ms Sturgeon's announcement by saying that the evidence "clearly showed a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum".

Salmond hails 'political leadership' of Nicola Sturgeon

BBC News Channel

Former first minister Alex Salmond was asked whether Nicola Sturgeon had been "backed into a corner" when opinion polls suggest Scotland would still vote to stay in the UK. 

He told the BBC News Channel: "The last person backed into a corner today is Nicola Sturgeon. As the UK government fumbles for a response, they've had a demonstration of political leadership from Nicola Sturgeon."

Alex Salmond
BBC

He added: "I called the previous referendum in Scotland and I think the day I called it at the end of 2012, the opinion poll for 'yes' was 28%.

"The average of the last three opinion polls in Scotland is 49%, so Nicola Sturgeon is starting from a base 20% better."

He went on: "I notice Ladbrokes have just made a 'yes' vote for independence a favourite in their book. They may not be psephologists but they don't fling their money away. 

Patrick Harvie confirms the Greens would vote in favour of seeking a Section 30 order

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie
bbc
Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie

Ms Sturgeon will rely on the pro-independence Scottish Greens to give her plans majority support in the Scottish Parliament.

Patrick Harvie, the party's co-convener, welcomed the announcement and confirmed the Greens would vote in favour of seeking a Section 30 order.

He added: "Scotland's votes and our voice have been ignored by a Tory government at Westminster which we did not vote for and a feeble Labour opposition.

"The people of Scotland deserve a choice between hard Brexit Britain and putting our own future in our own hands."

PM: 'The tunnel vision that the SNP has shown today is deeply regrettable'

Reports of Euro Commission spokesman saying Scotland would have to apply to join EU

Analysis: Sturgeon believes she has been backed into a corner

Norman Smith

Assistant political editor


          Pro-UK politicians say a second independence referendum cause further uncertainty and division
Reuters
Pro-UK politicians say a second independence referendum wouldcause further uncertainty and division

Nicola Sturgeon's view is that she has been backed into a corner.

In part, she has almost backed herself into a corner by her rhetoric over the last few weeks and months.

She has left herself very little room for manoeuvre unless Theresa May is going to offer her up this deal of Scotland remaining a part of the single market.

At the same time, she has fuelled a level of expectation within her own party. Many within the SNP are pushing her to go for the second independence referendum.

You could argue that maybe she cannot hold back any longer, and therefore has decided to seize the initiative, go out on the front foot, lay down the gauntlet to Theresa May and say "OK, I'm asking for the referendum, will you give it to me?"

Ruth Davidson brands referendum announcement "deeply irresponsible"

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, has condemned Nicola Sturgeon's call for a second referendum as an "irresponsible and damaging proposition". 

Ms Davidson told Radio 4's The World at One that "there is no clear mandate for the Scottish government" to have the referendum, saying "the Scottish people do not want this".  

Salmond has 'no doubt' there will be a resounding vote in favour of independence

BBC News Channel

Interviewed by the BBC News channel, former first minster Alex Salmond accused Downing Street of "arrogance" in questioning his successor's "unimpeachable mandate" to push for a referendum. 

He said: "When these two options are put before the Scottish people, I have absolutely no doubt there will be a resounding vote in favour of independence and keeping that thousand-year-long European connection that Scotland as a European nation has had."

Alex Salmond on the BBC News channel
BBC

Analysis: Securing support for indyref2 at Holyrood will be the easy part - then what?

Philip Sim

BBC Scotland political reporter


          Scottish voters rejected independence by 55% to 45% in the referendum in September 2014
PA
Scottish voters rejected independence by 55% to 45% in the referendum in September 2014

Game on. Next week Nicola Sturgeon will go to Holyrood seeking a Section 30 order for "indyref2".

This part, at least, should be pretty simple. There is a pro-independence majority at Holyrood; the Greens should back the SNP, so Holyrood should return a call for a second referendum.

Will the UK government give permission? Technically, they could say no. But politically, it might be very difficult for them to refuse outright.

The real battle here may not be over whether there is a referendum, but when.

Ms Sturgeon is clear she wants the vote to take place before Brexit is complete, in the spring of 2019.

The UK government may well argue it should take place after that, so there can be full focus on the tricky task of Brexit itself.

There remains a lot of detail to be hammered out before we get back on the campaign trail.

Follow @BBCPhilipSim on Twitter

SNP: To reject Scotland from EU goes against 'European ideals'

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

The Scottish National Party's Stephen Gethins has been speaking to Martha Kearney on Radio 4's World at One. 

When asked what would happen if Scotland voted to leave the UK but couldn't become a member of the European Union, Mr Gethins said that since Scotland was a "net contributor" to the EU and has "met all of the rules" for EU membership, to reject Scotland from EU membership would "go against European ideals".

FSB says survey showed "little appetite" for indyref2

Welder
BBC

Andy Willox, the  Scottish policy convenor for Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), says that a survey conducted after last year’s Scottish Parliament elections, but before the poll on Europe, revealed very little appetite among smaller firms for another independence referendum.

“Of course, there’s a lot more going on now – in terms of faltering confidence and rising costs – than there was last May," Mr Willox says.  

"What we don’t know is if these changes have shifted views one way or the other, but I daresay that will become apparent in the weeks and months ahead," he added. 

Will the PM allow indyref2?

Nick Eardley

BBC Scotland Westminster correspondent

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon
bbc
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon

Theresa May's speech to the Scottish Conservative conference last week - on the benefits of being part of the UK - sounded, in part, like a referendum campaign pitch.

But we're not quite there yet. It should become clearer in the coming weeks if the Scottish government are going to push for another vote on independence.

If they do, it's widely accepted they will need to obtain permission from Westminster under Section 30 of the Scotland Act.

That's what happened in 2014 when David Cameron and Alex Salmond signed the Edinburgh Agreement.

It's clear the UK government doesn't want another referendum. It argues the question has already been asked; Scotland has already answered.

But what happens if the Scottish Parliament disagrees? (The SNP may be a minority government at Holyrood, but they will almost certainly get the backing of the Greens to pass legislation backing another referendum).

Click here to read more.

RICS backs open debate on Scotland's future

Estate agent window
PA

Gail Hunter, regional director of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Scotland, says that the first minister has been clear in her ambitions for Scotland’s future relationship with the EU and the UK.

Ms Hunter says the first minister has shown her desire to have an open debate around these vital issues.

“The prospect of another independence referendum runs the risk of adding additional uncertainty for markets, which are already slowing due to the unknown consequences of Brexit," she says. 

"We look forward to the UK government giving more details on its position, which could go some way towards offering the reassurances and clarity that the land and property markets seek," she added. 

Ms Hunter says all efforts should be made to retain our access to a skilled international workforce, passporting of professional services and attracting private investment in Scotland.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce says it is crucial that the voice of business is heard

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron says: “It is welcome that the first minister has indicated that the Scottish government will continue to engage with the political process around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  

"These are vital years ahead for the future of the UK and Scottish economy and it is crucial that Scotland has a voice at the centre of this process.


          Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron being interviewed during the last indy
bbc
Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron is quizzed during the last independence referendum campaign

“Scotland has been through two referendums and two major elections over the past three years, and there is no doubt that this period of continual uncertainty has had a material impact upon businesses in Scotland.   

"These are real and present business issues that are affecting business decisions and investment.  

"A further referendum on Scotland’s independence would be no different, and the more that can be done to mitigate the duration of this uncertainty for business, the better."

CBI Scotland's response to the first minister's speech

CBI Scotland Director Hugh Aitken
BBC
CBI Scotland director Hugh Aitken

CBI Scotland director Hugh Aitken says that Scotland's businesses have acted with resilience since the EU referendum.

Mr Aitken says CBI Scotland's priority, in an already uncertain environment, is clarity as soon as possible on what a future deal could look like.

“What’s important is that the needs of Scotland – and the other devolved nations - are heard and understood in the discussions on the UK’s future relationship with Europe," he says. 

“The Scottish and UK governments must continue to work together, with business, to ensure the best deal from the negotiations for Scottish firms, and this work should continue as a matter of priority."

Few businesses want a second independence referendum, says Institute of Directors in Scotland

Institute of Directors in Scotland executive director David Watt says: “Not many in the Scottish business community wanted Brexit, and equally, few want a renewed independence referendum, and the associated continuation of uncertainty which has had such an impact on the ability of businesses to move forward with their plans.  


          Institute of Directors in Scotland executive director David Watt
bbc
Institute of Directors in Scotland executive director David Watt

"The modern world presents a multitude of opportunities for businesses to innovate and prosper, and this rather than constitutional arguments is the preferred focus of IoD members. 

"However, if the political will is to move forward with another vote, business will react appropriately and continue to face up to the challenges that such political activity presents. 

Blair Jenkins, former head of Yes Scotland: Both options involve substantial change

People inevitably have an anxiety about change. My own view is that was a key thing in 2014, the anxiety about change. The difference this time around is that there is no option that is change-free. Both options that will be on the ballot paper will be about substantial change.

Blair JenkinsFormer head of Yes Scotland
Blair Jenkins
BBC

Craig Harrow, former Better Together director, warns against "Project Fear"

Former Better Together director Craig Harrow says any future referendum campaign should avoid negative arguments.

I think that we, on the pro-Union side, need to sell the benefits of being a productive, positive member of the United Kingdom. And so it is about security, it is about the economy, it is about jobs and it is about the single market. The UK single market.

Craig Harrow Former director, Better Together
better together
EPA

SUMMARY: Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum

Nicola Sturgeon to call indyref2 in autumn 2018 or spring 2019

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.

The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU.

She said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week to request a Section 30 order from Westminster.

The order would be needed to allow a fresh legally-binding referendum on independence to be held.

Number 10 responds to independence referendum announcement

Prime Minister Theresa May
bbc
Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May has so far avoided saying whether or not she would grant permission for indyref2.

Her official spokesman responded to Ms Sturgeon's announcement by saying that the evidence "clearly showed a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum".

He added: "Only a little over two years ago, people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish government defined as a 'once in a generation' vote.

"Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time."