Nicola Sturgeon confirmed to the Scottish Parliament today a delay in her plans to hold another referendum on independence – but refused to rule it out entirely.
The First Minister told Parliament that the SNP had a “mandate beyond doubt” to hold a second vote, despite their losses at the election earlier this month.
Ms Sturgeon said that the initial plan of holding a referendum at the end of the Brexit process, in the Autumn of 2018, had been replaced by plans to bring forward legislation for another referendum at that time, with a future date to be determined.
She told MSPs at Holyrood: “It remains my view that the people of Scotland should have a choice on our future – I am increasingly convinced that the implications of Brexit are so severe that demands for that choice will increase.
“I am confirming today that Government will reset the plan I set out in March. We will not seek to introduce the legislation for another vote immediately.
“We will, in good faith, pursue the best deal for Scotland.
“We will do everything we can to influence the UK in that direction. And then at the end of the term of negotiation, expected to be the Autumn of 2018, we will come forward with our more detailed plans, including the dates for a second referendum.”
The First Minister issued a ‘challenge’ to the opposition to back her Government’s plans for Scotland’s place post-Brexit, urging them to join their voices to demands for a seat at the table of the negotiations.
Ms Sturgeon had originally argued another ballot over independence was necessary to give Scots - who voted to stay in the European Union in June 2016 - an alternative to the “hard Brexit” being pursued by the Tories.
She insisted on Tuesday that the Scottish Government “remains committed strongly to the principle of giving Scotland a choice at the end of this process”.
Ms Sturgeon said having reflected on the issue in the wake of the general election - in which the SNP’s share of the vote fell from 50% to 30% as the party lost 21 Westminster constituencies - she wanted to reassure people.
The First Minister said she still wanted to give people a choice at the end of the Brexit process when “clarity has emerged” about how the move will impact Scotland and the UK.
More to follow.