Scotland politics

Sturgeon wants Indyref2 in 'second half of 2020'

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Media captionMs Sturgeon said a bill paving the way for indyref2 would be published at Holyrood

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a new Scottish independence referendum in the second half of 2020.

Speaking in Dublin Ms Sturgeon said the "latter half" of next year would be the "right time" for a new poll.

The SNP leader predicted victory in a second vote, with Scotland becoming "an independent country just like Ireland".

Ms Sturgeon also confirmed legislation setting out the rules for another independence referendum will be published at Holyrood on Wednesday.

The first minister, who met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during her Irish trip, had previously said she wanted to hold a second vote on Scottish independence by May 2021 if the country was taken out of the EU.

'Right time'

Speaking after her party secured 37.7% of the Scottish vote in the European elections she gave a clearer indication of her preferred timeframe.

Ms Sturgeon said: "There will be another Scottish independence referendum and I will make a prediction today that Scotland will vote for independence and we will become an independent country just like Ireland, and the strong relationship between our two countries now will become even stronger soon.

"I want to see Scotland having the choice of independence within this term of the Scottish Parliament, which ends in May 2021, so towards the latter half of next year would be when I think is the right time for that choice."

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Image caption Ms Sturgeon met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin on Monday

In a separate BBC interview, Ms Sturgeon said she would bring forward legislation later this week at Holyrood paving the way for a second independence vote.

She said: "This week we will bring forward legislation to put in place the rules for giving people the choice in an independence referendum over a Brexit future or a future as an independent European nation."

Ms Sturgeon has previously said that in order to put a future Yes vote beyond doubt or challenge, she would want the UK government to give Holyrood the power to hold a new referendum through a "Section 30 order" or similar mechanism.

The UK government has insisted it would not support such a vote at the present time, arguing that the matter was supposed to be "settled for a generation" by the independence referendum in 2014.

The Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden criticised the first minister's comments on independence, accusing her of "hypocritical deceit".

He said: "The SNP went into this election pretending to voters that it was nothing to do with independence.

"Yet within hours of it being announced, Nicola Sturgeon is specifically using it to argue for separation.

"That's fraudulent behaviour from an SNP government that's meant to be running the country, not trying to break it up."

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