Nicola Sturgeon: I won't call a second Scottish independence vote this year

Nicola Sturgeon has said she won't bow to the 'huge appetite' among Nationalists to call a quickfire independence referendum amid the Brexit chaos.

It is likely to be the new year before the First Minister unveils her plans for a fresh vote on Scotland leaving the UK, as she insisted that she must put the “national interest” first as she seeks to avoid the economic damage of hard Brexit which will leave all Scots “poorer.”

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“I could stand here and put my interests first or the SNP’s interests,” Ms Sturgeon said as she addressed journalists in Bute House today.

“I know there’s a huge appetite across those who support independence to see other statements made around here.

“But what’s right and proper is that I put the interests of the country first.”

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WireFirst Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

MPs at the Commons are expected to vote on the Brexit Withdrawal deal on December 11 and if - as expected - Theresa May loses, it could mean a second vote the following week, delaying the process even further..

“I’m not sure anyone would welcome it if I asked you all to come here on Christmas Eve to make a major statement about Scotland’s constitutional future,” Ms Sturgeon told journalists.

“I will make that statement at a time that I think is right not just for the Scottish Government or for the SNP but right for the people of Scotland.

“I think it’s only right if we’re asking the people of Scotland to consider the question of independence then we give them as much clarity as we possibly can,”

The First Minister insisted Brexit had strengthened the case for a yes vote.

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“The cost to Scotland of not being independent have been laid bare over these past two years,” she added.

“The EU has shown independent Ireland nothing but solidarity. By contrast the UK Government has shown Scotland nothing but contempt.

“Any idea of the UK Government as an equal partnership of nations has been casualty of this Brexit process. Instead a Westminster Government that Scotland did not vote for is intent on pursuing a path rejected by 62% of the Scottish people, a path that will hit the Scottish economy, lower living standards, damage our NHS and restrict opportunities for this and future generations.

“And along the way, to add insult injury, Scotland’s voice is being ignored, our interests sidelined and the powers of our Parliament downgraded.

“As a result of all of that, the case for the people of Scotland having the right to determine our future have never been stronger than now.

“And, of course, I will return to that matter when we know which approach the House of Commons chooses.”