An “increasing number” of Scots believe independence provides the best future for the country, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs on Holyrood’s return from its summer break.
And the First Minister again made it clear that she will set out plans to stage another referendum in the months ahead as the UK Government’s “shamefully shambolic” handling of Brexit comes to a head.
“We will continue to make the case for EU membership,” she told MSPs today as she set out her Programme for Government (PfG) for next year.
“Short of that, we will press the UK Government to remain in the single market and the customs union.
“As the terms of Brexit become clearer in the months ahead, we will consider and set out our view on how Scotland’s interests can best be protected and advanced.”
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But the First Minister also highlighted a new poll at the weekend which indicated a majority of Scots would back independence after Brexit.
“It is clear an increasing number of our fellow citizens believe, as we do, that the best future for Scotland lies in becoming an independent country.”
But Labour leader Richard Leonard warned indepedence would see Scotland hit by sweeping austerity.
“These benches oppose a second independence referendum,” he said.
“We urge the First Minister to drop any plans once and for all.”
“Brexit throws into sharp relief the challenges of leaving one political and economic union. And let us be clear on this as well - leaving the United Kingdom would mean an unprecedented decade of austerity for the people of Scotland - not my analysis but the analysis of the SNP’s own cuts Commission published in May.