Scottish leader delays second independence vote

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster center DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds left and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson make a statement to the media outside 10 Downing Street in central London Monday
Scotland's Sturgeon to make statement on 'indyref2'

28 June, 2017

She said plans for a second referendum bill would be shelved until autumn 2018 at earliest - to when "it is clearer what Brexit will involve". The SNP has won two elections - the Scottish Parliament election last year and the General Election this year - with an explicit commitment in our manifesto on holding a referendum.

She told MSPs at Holyrood: "It remains my view that the people of Scotland should have a choice on our future - I am increasingly convinced that the implications of Brexit are so severe that demands for that choice will increase".

Sturgeon said she expected details of how Brexit will affect Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom to emerge by autumn next year.

In the meantime, she said ministers would "in good faith redouble our efforts and put our shoulder to the wheel in seeking to influence the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland's interests".

"We must persuade the majority in Scotland of that". She had argued that would give Scots an alternative to Brexit.

Reports at the weekend, however, suggested that Sturgeon is now setting aside her plans for independence so she can focus on pushing for a 'soft Brexit'.

"I am confirming today that Government will reset the plan I set out in March".

And some figures from within her own party have urged Ms Sturgeon to change her strategy following the election, and to temporarily "park" her referendum timetable.

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Right now, the Scottish Government will seek maximum support for proposals to keep us in the Single Market.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose permission would be required for another independence ballot, said Sturgeon should "completely take off the table" the question of independence.

Another Scottish independence referendum must be approved by May's government for it to be legally binding.

The First Minister said it was her job to "build as much unity as possible" among the country.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish parliament said the time of the statement was still being finalised. "The mandate we have is beyond doubt, but deciding exactly how and when to exercise it is a matter of judgment".

The first minister's decision represents a softening of her party's position on independence.

For now, Sturgeon restated her plea for May to allow Scottish ministers to join the negotiations between London and Brussels.

Holyrood's consent will be sought on the UK Government's Great Repeal Bill - the legislation which aims to turn European Union laws into UK laws.

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