Backtrack not U-turn over indyref2

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Media captionMs Sturgeon said legislation for a second referendum would not now be introduced until at least the autumn of next year

Anyone waiting to declare that Nicola Sturgeon has been forced to do a U-turn over her plans for a second independence referendum will have been sorely disappointed today.

She has been forced to backtrack on the timing. The first minister is no longer insisting that any independence vote takes place before the UK leaves in EU in March 2019.

But she has told the BBC that there could still be another referendum before the end of this Scottish Parliamentary term in 2021.

In the parliamentary chamber this afternoon she said had listened to voters and reflected on the result.

The SNP lost 21 MPs in the general election and some of them blame the party's message on independence for their defeat.

Her political opponents say that merely "resetting" the timetable for a referendum rather than taking it off the table shows that Nicola Sturgeon has not properly understood the message sent by voters who don't want another poll anytime soon.

Ms Sturgeon is delaying rather than abandoning indyref2 because she hopes that once the shape of the Brexit deal becomes clear Scottish voters will change their minds about the independence option. But she knows it won't be easy.

Admitting today that "the challenge for all of us who believe that Scotland should be independent is to get on with the hard work of making and winning that case - on all of its merits - and in a way that is relevant to the change, challenges, hopes and opportunities we face now and in the years ahead".

The SNP have launched a new page on their website asking supporters to send in their ideas (and donations) for how to grow the independence movement.

That's not a party who have given up hope of holding a another referendum.

The danger is that voters may think that is not an adequate response to their concerns.

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