New Brexit referendum 'harms case against second independence vote'

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox
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Holding a second referendum on EU membership would destroy the central argument against a second Scottish independence referendum, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has warned.

Mr Fox said it would be impossible to argue that the SNP should not call a second referendum on Scotland's place in the UK if campaigners to say in the EU were given a chance to reverse the decision on Brexit.

His comments came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she would only reveal her thinking on a second independence referendum in the new year.

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Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Mr Fox responded to reports of growing support in government for a referendum on the terms of Brexit.

"How can we tell Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP that they can’t have another independence referendum because they didn’t like the result?” he warned.

The leading Brexit supporter added that "if there is a referendum... people like me will immediately start asking that it’s best of three”.

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Ms Sturgeon began the year signalling that she would provide clarity on her bid for a new independence referendum by the autumn, but repeated delays in negotiating and ratifying the UK's Brexit deal have pushed that announcement into 2019.

“I’ll set out my views in the new year once we’ve got through this period of turmoil on Brexit," the First Minister confirmed on Sky's Ridge on Sunday programme.