The Scottish Government should make plans for a second independence referendum before the UK leaves the EU, an SNP MP has said.
Angus MacNeil, the MP for the Western Isles, has added to pressure on Nicola Sturgeon by suggesting she needs to call a referendum “around that period” if there is a hard or a no deal Brexit.
The First Minister initially suggested she would reveal a timetable for a second independence vote at the SNP conference next month, but uncertainty over the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU has grown, leading senior party figures to play down expectations.
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In July, Mr MacNeil called for a referendum to be held “within the year”.
“I think the Scottish Government has to start communicating possible dates and possible scenarios,” Mr MacNeil told the Sunday National.
“If we are out in a hard Brexit at the end of March we need a referendum around that period…the end of March is a strong possibility,” he told the Sunday National. We should know [what sort of Brexit is happening] by October or November, but the time is then very short. We need to be on a ‘on your marks, get ready, set and go’.
“If we get a transition deal we have perhaps a little more time to play with.
“We have to set out our stall soon to hold an independence referendum before we are out – either out of the EU at the end of March or out of the transition period.”
The SNP MP added: “I’d like the Scottish Government to communicate with people their thinking on the range of scenarios.”