Sturgeon defers independence referendum until after Brexit

27 Jun 17

A second referendum on Scottish independence will be put on hold until after Brexit, Scotland’s first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In an address to the Scottish Parliament today, Sturgeon said the SNP’s plan will be “reset” to ensure the people of Scotland will be able to make a “clear and informed” choice once the implications of Brexit become apparent.

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

Brexit talks between the EU and the UK started last week and are expected to be completed around October next year according to the timetable agreed by delegations from both sides.

The first minister’s decision represents a softening of her party’s position on independence. In March, the SNP-dominated Scottish Parliament formally demanded that a second vote take place within two years to allow Scots the opportunity to choose to follow the UK out of the European Union or not.

But Sturgeon told MSPs today: “We will not seek to introduce the legislation for a referendum immediately."

She added: “The Scottish Government remains committed strongly to the principle of giving Scotland a choice at the end of this [Brexit] process.

"But I want to reassure people that our proposal is not for a referendum now, or before there is sufficient clarity about the options - but rather to give them a choice at the end of the Brexit process when that clarity has emerged.

“I am therefore confirming today that having listened and reflected the Scottish government will reset the plan I set out on March 13.”

In June’s snap general election, the SNP lost 21 of the 56 Westminster seats it won in 2015, suggesting Scots’ enthusiasm for independence might be beginning to wane.

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