Nicola Sturgeon has said blocking a second referendum would be a “democratic outrage” claiming it was for the Scottish Parliament to decide the timing of another vote.
The First Minister reacted angrily to Theresa May’s insistence that a referendum should not be held until the UK’s Brexit deal has been delivered.
For the Scottish Parliament to stage an independence referendum the powers to do so have to be transferred from Westminster through a section 30 order.
Mrs May has said “now is not the time” for another vote arguing it would be “unfair” on Scottish people to take such a crucial decision without the information they need.
Ms Sturgeon said: “If the Prime Minister refuses to engage on the terms of a referendum before Brexit takes place then she is effectively trying to block the people of Scotland having a choice over their future. That would be a democratic outrage.
“It is for the Scottish Parliament – not Downing Street – to determine the timing of a referendum, and the decision of the Scottish Parliament must be respected.
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“It would be outrageous for the Scottish Parliament to be frozen out of the process.
“The Scottish Government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to offer people a choice and that mandate must be fulfilled.
“Any bid by the UK Government to block the people of Scotland from making a choice will be untenable, undemocratic and totally unsustainable – and clearly shows that the UK Government recognises it is out of step with the Scottish people.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “As I set out earlier this week, we are not proposing a referendum now - we are proposing to give the people of Scotland a choice once Brexit is clear but before it is too late.
“The PM does not appear to have listened to our proposal.
“We will put our proposition, based firmly on this government’s democratic mandate, to the Scottish Parliament next week, and then we will put our formal proposals to the UK Government.”