Nicola Sturgeon has said Scottish independence “must remain an option” as she criticised the “ongoing horror show” of the Conservative’s Brexit plans.
The First Minister said “a new spirit of Scottish assertiveness” is need to deal with the threat she believes Brexit poses.
Writing in The Sunday Mail, she said: “The year ahead has the potential to be one of the most significant in Scotland’s recent history.
“I believe it will be a year in which a new Scotland continues to emerge, an emboldened, more confident and assertive nation.
“That is perhaps not the most obvious conclusion to draw from the ongoing horror show of the Tories’ inept and chaotic Brexit plans, which threaten to do deep and lasting damage to our economy and society.
“But it is because of that overarching threat that I believe a new spirit of Scottish assertiveness is needed and will come to the fore.”
She added: “Last year, I made clear we will scrutinise the detail of any final Brexit deal negotiated by the UK Government before deciding the next steps in terms of giving people a choice on Scotland’s future.
“However, I have been clear all along that the threat to Scotland’s interests means independence must remain an option.”
She said SNP MPs and MSPs would continue to oppose Conservative plans for a hard Brexit which takes the UK out of the single market and customs union.
Ms Sturgeon accused Scottish Labour of “colluding in their London leadership’s shamefully ambivalent attitude to Brexit” and claimed Scottish Conservative MPs are “lobby-fodder” for the Prime Minister.
Scottish Conservative MSP John Lamont said: “After last year’s general election, Nicola Sturgeon promised to put her plans for independence on pause and focus on her day job.
“It’s clear from her words today that she intends to break that promise within months, and once again put independence top of her agenda.”
READ MORE: Scottish history timeline from 1054 to 2014