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Summary

  1. UK government is to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum before Brexit
  2. Prime Minister Theresa May says 'now is not the time' in TV interview
  3. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says blocking a referendum would be a 'democratic outrage'

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

Coverage of 'not now' to referendum ends

That's all from our coverage of the Conservative response to the SNP government's plans to hold a second Scottish independence referendum.

The next key chapter in the story will happen on Tuesday and Wednesday next week when MSPs will debate and vote on a motion requesting Westminster to grant a referendum.

Political dates for the calendar

BBC data
BBC

Round-up: Referendum demand 'will be rejected'

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon
BBC

The UK government is to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum before Brexit after Theresa May said "now is not the time".

The prime minister said the focus should be on getting the best Brexit deal for the whole of the UK.

But Scotland's first minister said she remained "determined" to have an independence referendum on her timescale.

Nicola Sturgeon told BBC Scotland it would be "anti-democratic" for the UK government to block a referendum.

FM: Blocking indyref2 would be 'outrageous' and 'anti-democratic'

Blocking a Scottish referendum 'would be undemocratic'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says blocking a second Scottish independence referendum would be "outrageous" and "anti-democratic".

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May said that "now was not the time" to allow a vote to take place.

And Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said a referendum should not be held without knowing the shape of any post-Brexit relationship with Europe.

'We do not want to be dragged back to arguments of past'

BBC News Channel

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has told the BBC that it is wrong to assume that an independence referendum will take place.

"You have to understand that the majority of people here in Scotland don’t want independence - they told us that just two-and-a-half years ago - and they don’t want another independence referendum. That’s evidenced in all the recent opinion polls," she said.

"Our country is divided enough. We do not want to be dragged back to the arguments of the past and that’s why the Scottish Labour party will very firmly oppose a second independence referendum here in the parliament next week.

Kezia Dugdale
BBC

"Nicola Sturgeon regularly points to her manifesto and repeats a line about a material change in circumstances.

"What she rarely does is read the line in the manifesto that precedes that, which says there would have to be evidence of the majority of people in Scotland wanting to revisit that independence question before she would call that second independence referendum.”

Competing mandates over indyref2

Brian Taylor

BBC Scotland Political Editor

To govern is to choose. The prime minister has now chosen to exercise her power over the constitution, reserved to Westminster under the Scotland Act 1998.

This is about competing power, competing mandates, competing interpretations of the verdicts delivered during the European referendum last year.

Theresa May accords primacy to the Brexit negotiations. She says she does  not want even to contemplate the prospect  of indyref2 during that period.

That means she will not countenance a transfer of powers under Section 30 of the Scotland Act, again at this stage.

Read the rest of Brian Taylor's blog .

'A high stakes game of political brinkmanship'

David Porter

Scotland Westminster editor

What we have seen is a very high stakes episode of political brinkmanship between those in 10 Downing Street and those in Bute House. 

Theresa May chose her words extremely carefully today and the timing of the intervention is most definitely not accidental. It was very carefully stage-managed from Number 10's point of view. 

What it was, was a very carefully calibrated rebuff to Nicola Sturgeon but not the Scottish people. And the impression I get is that, reading between the lines, Number 10 is saying "No we are not ruling out a referendum forever and a day, but what we are ruling out is a referendum on Nicola Sturgeon's timetable".

The logic from Theresa May is that she has got to embark on Brexit negotiations, those could be very lengthy, very complicated and it is only fair for the people of Scotland that they know what the Brexit deal is going to be before they are asked to take a decision about the future of the union and their country. 

'Theresa May has listened to the majority of people in Scotland'

BBC Radio Scotland

Scottish Conservatives MSP Murdo Fraser has said Theresa May has listened to the opinion "of the majority of people in Scotland".

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme, Mr Fraser said: "It has been very clear for some time that even a large percentage of those who believe Scotland should be an independent country at some future point don't want to see an independence referendum in the near future."

He added: "What she's [Theresa May] trying to do is create a stable settlement in the UK and some stability at a time that the UK government is involved in what will inevitably be a very difficult negotiation for Brexit which is a major challenge for this country.

"And having an independence referendum while that's going on is going to add an extra layer of uncertainty and disruption."

What happened with the 2014 referendum and what's different this time?

Jack Evans

BBC's Political Research Unit

David Cameron and Alex Salmond
Reuters
In October 2012 David Cameron and Alex Salmond signed an agreement for a Scottish independence referendum to take place in 2014

The 2014 referendum was held by mutual consent between the UK and Scottish governments, but the legal power to hold a referendum lies with Westminster.

In 2012, through the Edinburgh agreement and a piece of legislation called a section 30 order, the UK government temporarily gave the power to hold a referendum to the Scottish parliament. It meant Holyrood was able to decide;

  • the date of the referendum
  • the franchise
  • the wording of the question
  • rules on campaign financing
  • other rules for the conduct of the referendum

Only three limits were placed on the Scottish Parliament by the UK government:

  • the date of the referendum couldn’t take place on another election date
  • it had to be held no later than 31 December 2014
  • the referendum question could only offer two options for voters to choose between

Next week the Scottish Parliament is likely to vote, once again, for the government to give them the power to hold the independence referendum under a Section 30 order.

If Theresa May refuses to do that, any referendum would not have legal or statutory backing under UK Law.

Potentially, this has significant constitutional implications.Despite the rhetoric, in practice since devolution, the Scottish and UK governments have worked generally on the basis of consent. 

A significant constitutional breakdown between the two governments hasn’t yet been road tested in the era of devolution.

May and Sturgeon both taking 'massive gambles'

From the BBC's political editor

'I just think this is nationalism gone mad'

Views from Indyref1 campaigners

BBC Radio Scotland

Duncan Hothershall, a blogger and No campaigner, told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "For me, and I think a lot of people, it's a pox on both their houses. Both of these leaders are basically whipping up different types of nationalism against each other. 

"What struck me about Theresa May today was she set out an argument against a country leaving a union that has been successful and upon which it relies for trade and it struck me that what she was arguing against was her own criminal Brexit plans.

"But the argument is right about both Brexit and independence. What worries me is that people are painting independence as a way out of Brexit. For me it just doubles down on all of the disaster that Brexit is about to bring. 

"Independence would just double it. We would be leaving another market, we would be going into another period of upheaval. I just think this is nationalism gone mad."

Nicola Sturgeon: PM's decision is 'democratically unacceptable'

From the BBC's political editor

'A lot has changed in Scotland since 2014'

Views from Indyref1 campaigners

BBC Radio Scotland

Michael Gray, who campaigned for a Yes vote in 2014, told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "A lot has changed in Scotland since 2014. 

"People in Scotland didn't vote for the current Tory government, they didn't vote for Brexit, and no-one in the United Kingdom voted to exit the single market yet all these things are being imposed on Scotland, with a threat to our economy and our society.

"I think the majority in the Scottish Parliament support a fresh referendum after the terms of Brexit are clear and I think it is the right of the people in Scotland to decide, given these changing circumstances, what they make of both a fresh proposition for independence and the real threats that come from Brexit as well."

PM's office calls for Holyrood vote on referendum to be dropped

From BBC Scotland's political correspondent

Theresa May is 'raising the stakes'

Andrew Kerr

Scottish political correspondent

Today Theresa May pulled the rug out from underneath Nicola Sturgeon, after Nicola Sturgeon pulled the rug out from underneath her feet on Monday in her Bute House statement. 

The prime minister's interview in Downing Street was done at about 12:00. It was a pooled interview - that's why Robert Peston the political editor of ITV news was doing it - and it was played out to everyone at 12:45.

And what was happening at 12:45 in Scotland? Well, that was the moment the first minister had sat down immediately after First Minister's Questions.

So another extraordinary development in quite an extraordinary week which leaves us really at a political impasse with Theresa May now raising the stakes. 

Watch: Nicola Sturgeon says 'true terms of Brexit' known in 18 months time

From BBC Scotland political correspondent Nick Eardley

Scot Lib Dems: 'Not the right time and no proper mandate for referendum'

Tweets from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

Greer: 'Scottish Greens will give the SNP the majority it needs'

Ross Greer, who speaks for the Scottish Greens on external affairs, insisted his party would help the SNP request a Section 30 order.

Ross Greer
BBC

He said: "If a Tory Westminster government that Scotland did not elect seriously think they can block our right to choose - and that they can veto a decision of our elected parliament - they will only increase support for independence.

"Today's comments underline the contemptuous attitude the Tories have toward Scotland."

'Could this be the day the fate of the Union is sealed?'

BBC Scotland political correspondent

Scottish Labour: 'There absolutely should not be another independence referendum until after Brexit'

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said it was vital that Scots knew what they would be voting for before any poll took place.

She said: "There absolutely should not be another independence referendum until after Brexit.

Kezia Dugdale
PA

"We have no idea what Brexit looks like, or how it will impact our economy and families in Scotland.

"People cannot be asked to make a decision about the future of our 300-year-old Union in the dark.

"If there is to be another vote, the people of Scotland deserve clarity on what they are being asked to vote on." 

Sturgeon: Blocking the people of Scotland from making a choice 'untenable, undemocratic and totally unsustainable'

Statement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

“As I set out earlier this week, we are not proposing a referendum now - we are proposing to give the people of Scotland a choice once Brexit is clear but before it is too late.

“The PM does not appear to have listened to our proposal.

“We will put our proposition, based firmly on this government’s democratic mandate, to the Scottish Parliament next week, and then we will put our formal proposals to the UK government.

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Parliament
AFP

“If the prime minister refuses to engage on the terms of a referendum before Brexit takes place then she is effectively trying to block the people of Scotland having a choice over their future. That would be a democratic outrage.

“It is for the Scottish Parliament – not Downing Street – to determine the timing of a referendum, and the decision of the Scottish Parliament must be respected.

“It would be outrageous for the Scottish Parliament to be frozen out of the process.

“The Scottish government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to offer people a choice and that mandate must be fulfilled.

“Any bid by the UK government to block the people of Scotland from making a choice will be untenable, undemocratic and totally unsustainable – and clearly shows that the UK government recognises it is out of step with the Scottish people.”

Alex Salmond: 'This finger-wagging at Scotland is going to backfire spectacularly'

Former first minister speaking to the News Channel

BBC News Channel

Responding to the news that Mrs May will reject the call to hold a second independence referendum, Alex Salmond asserted that the prime minister would ultimately have to concede.

Alex Salmond at Westminster
BBC

He told the News Channel: “It goes far beyond people’s choices on independence – it’s when Scotland as a nation has the right to determine its own future and there’s many people who may have questions about Scottish independence, but ask them the fundamental question ‘does Scotland have the right to decide?’ And, of course, the answer is ‘yes’, because anything else undermines Scottish nationhood and no self-respecting Scot is going to take a Westminster prime minister doing that.

“This miscalculation, this finger-wagging at Scotland, this Theresa May laying down the law ‘thou shalt do this, thou shalt do that’, it’s not going to work. It’s going to backfire spectacularly and I think Theresa May will rue the day that she edged towards telling the Scottish people what they can and cannot do in expressing their nationhood.”

Summary: Referendum demand 'will be rejected'

Theresa May: 'Now is not the time' for Scotland independence vote

A request to hold a Scottish independence referendum before the UK leaves the EU will be rejected "conclusively" by the UK government, the Scottish Tory leader has said.

Ruth Davidson was speaking after the UK prime minister said "now was not the time" for another vote on the issue.

Ms Davidson said there was no clear public or political consent for a vote.

The Scottish government said blocking a referendum would be a democratic outrage.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a referendum to be held in the autumn of 2018 or the spring of the following year, to coincide with the conclusion of the UK's Brexit negotiations with the EU.

But Ms Davidson told a media conference in Edinburgh that the people of Scotland should have the right to see how the UK was working after leaving the EU before deciding whether or not they wanted independence.

That brings the press conference to an end


          Ruth Davidson and David Mundell leave the Point Hotel in the shadow of the Edinburgh Castle
bbc
Ruth Davidson and David Mundell leave the Point Hotel in the shadow of the Edinburgh Castle

Ms Davidson says she does not fear an independence referendum and says the economic case for independence collapse.

She says she dreads another independence referendum.

Mr Mundell says Nicola Sturgeon's proposition will be declined. 

Scottish Labour will vote against a second referendum on Scotland leaving the UK

'The one put forward on Monday does not meet the criteria and will be declined'

Secretary for State for Scotland David Mundell
BBC
Secretary for State for Scotland David Mundell

Secretary for State for Scotland David Mundell says "we will consider every proposal put forward". 

"The one put forward on Monday does not meet the criteria and will be declined," he says. 

Mr Mundell says he has always said there could be another Scottish independence referendum but in this case it does not meet the criteria. 

Davidson says she does not think there will be unanimous support for Section 30 at Holyrood next week

View more on twitter

Ms Davidson says she does not think there will be unanimous support at Holyrood next week.

'Now is not the time', Davidson repeats

Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson says the prime minister did say "now is not the time" because it would not be fair to call an independence referendum when the people of Scotland do not know the choice in front of them. 

Davidson says the first minister is practicing a deceit on the people of Scotland

Mr Mundell says an independence referendum would not, could not stop Scotland leaving the EU.

Ms Davidson says Scotland's Place in Europe acknowledges Scotland is leaving the EU.

She says the first minister is practicing a deceit on the people of Scotland.

'An independence referendum would not and could not stop Scotland leaving the EU'

Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson says there is a clear criteria which talks of fairness and consent.

Secretary for State for Scotland David Mundell says "Scotland is leaving the EU and the pretense that an independence referendum would stop that is absurd."

Mr Mundell says "this is a time for us to come together". 

He says "an independence referendum would not and could not stop Scotland leaving the EU". 

Davidson: 'This was about not now'

Ruth Davidson
BBC

Ms Davidson says: "We are not putting a timetable on this."

She says she cannot accept a referendum when the people of Scotland cannot see the options put before them and there is no support for a vote.

The Scottish Labour leader says a vote would not offer a clear choice.

This was about not now, this was about the criteria put to her [Theresa May] on Monday."

Ruth DavidsonScottish Conservative leader

Background: What are the latest polls saying?

Saltire and Union Jack flags
BBC

The survey comes as two polls look at the Scottish independence question .

  • The  Scottish Daily Mail's poll of 1,019 adults , which was carried out between 8-13 March, suggested that when "don't knows" are discounted, people in Scotland would vote 53% to 47% to stay a part of the UK.
  • The  Times Scotland's poll of 1,028 adults , which was carried out between 9-14 March, suggested that when "don't knows" are discounted, people in Scotland would vote 57% to 43% to stay a part of the UK.

Background: Scottish independence support 'at highest ever level'

Support for Scottish independence has reached its highest-ever level in an annual academic study.

But the Scottish Social Attitudes survey also suggested the popularity of the European Union had fallen.

The researchers said this suggested focusing on EU membership may not be the best way to swing more voters towards independence.

'Yes' and 'No Thanks' banners
Getty Images
Scotland voted to stay in the UK by 55% to 45% in the 2014 independence referendum

The survey has asked the same question about how Scotland should be governed every year since 1999.

It was carried out by  ScotCen Social Research  and has been published two days after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she wants to ask the UK government for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Mundell says the SNP did not ask for referendum powers in the Smith Commission

Mr Mundell says surely we would all want to get the best possible Brexit deal for the UK.

He goes on to say the SNP did not ask for the power to hold a referendum in the Smith Commission .

He says the suggestion has been made and we are not able to respond to that request.

Background: Indyref2: Your questions answered

Scotland and UK flags
BBC

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to seek a second Scottish independence referendum in 2018 or 2019. What do we know so far?