Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Sturgeon 'determined' to have second vote

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Media captionBlocking a Scottish referendum 'would be undemocratic'

Scotland's first minister said she remained "determined" to have an independence referendum on her timescale despite Theresa May saying that "now is not the time".

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

And she said she would consider her options if the will of the Scottish Parliament "is not respected".

Mrs May said the focus should be on securing the best possible Brexit deal.

She added that it would not be fair for the people of Scotland to be asked to make a decision on independence before the terms of Brexit were clear.

Speaking shortly after the prime minister, Scottish Secretary David Mundell clarified that the UK government "will not be entering into discussions or negotiations" about referendum, and that "any request at this time will be declined".

Ms Sturgeon wants a referendum to be held in the autumn of next year or the spring of 2019, to coincide with the expected conclusion of the UK's negotiations with the EU.

In an interview with BBC Scotland's Jackie Bird, she said she had an "unequivocal mandate" to hold a referendum, and that a majority of MSPs at Holyrood were likely to back her call in a vote next Wednesday.

Ms Sturgeon added: "You are asking me to accept that a Conservative prime minister who has one MP in Scotland has the right to lay down the law to Scotland's democratically elected parliament. That is unacceptable".

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Media captionTheresa May: "We should be working together, not pulling apart"

She went on to say that she would "consider my options and what I should do" if a formal Scottish Parliament request to hold a referendum is turned down.

Ms Sturgeon added: "I am determined that I will have one on my timescale, because the will of the Scottish Parliament will be respected.

"I accept that the prime minister has said what she has said today. What I don't accept is that that position is an acceptable one, a democratic one or a sustainable one."

The first minister said Mrs May appeared to be suggesting that a vote on independence could not be held until "long, long after" the UK had left the EU.

She said this would mean that the "damage of Brexit will have started to be done" and it would be "too late for Scotland, without suffering that damage, to choose a different path".

A second Scottish referendum

What are the key dates to watch?


Brexit will be triggered in March

  • 2018/19 Sturgeon's preferred vote dates

  • 2019 Two year Brexit deal period ends

  • 2020 Next UK general election

  • 2021 Next Holyrood election


Ms Sturgeon claimed that the UK government had "sunk the Brexit ship" and was now seeking to "puncture Scotland's lifeboat", and that it was like "going back to the bad old days of Margaret Thatcher".

But referring to the UK government's u-turn over national insurance contributions on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon said that the prime minister was "not the Iron Lady" and had shown she was capable of changing her mind in the face of public opinion.

Mrs May had earlier said that her message to Ms Sturgeon on a referendum was clear - "now is not the time".

The prime minister added: "I think we should be working to get the right deal for Scotland and the UK with our future partnership with the European Union.

"It would be unfair to the people of Scotland that they would be being asked to make a crucial decision without the information they need to make that decision."

The prime minister also said the country should be "working together, not pulling apart".