Leader comment: Sturgeon heaps pressure on May

There are many interpretations being'¨ put upon Nicola Sturgeon's recent suggestion that a soft Brexit would'¨see prospects of a second Scottish independence referendum disappear in the short term.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that a UK soft Brexit would mean no immediate second independence referendum

There are those who say that Ms Sturgeon is simply looking at the recent poll data which shows that at best there has been no change in the way the electorate is divided over the prospect of independence, with the majority still in favour of staying in the union. The theory goes that because Nationalists believe if the next indyref cannot be won the issue will genuinely go away for at least a generation they cannot risk a referendum until they are certain to win, and currently they are not certain to win, so this is Ms Sturgeon beginning to back away from the prospect.

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Others say she is asking for what she knows is impossible to deliver, given all Theresa May
and her government have said about special deals for Scotland, so she will be justified in calling for a second independence vote because her demands have not been met.

But there is of course always the possibility that she is doing exactly what she said she would do, and examine every potential avenue for a better deal for Scotland.

But what is fact is that Ms Sturgeon’s suggestion that the independence referendum might be postponed in the event of Brexit will heap more pressure on Mr May. And it has to be remembered that this is not a lone voice. There are other factions, for different reasons, all calling for Mrs May to think about a softer Brexit. Maybe the pressure will be enough for her to defy the demands of the more extreme in her party and see sense.