Nicola Sturgeon: There is a growing sense of urgency for Scottish independence
Nicola Sturgeon has said she believes there is a growing sense of urgency for Scotland to become independent in order to avoid being dragged down a political path it does not want to go down.
The First Minister, speaking at an Edinburgh Fringe Festival event on Monday with Iain Dale, said that a Lord Ashcroft poll suggesting that a majority of Scots favour independence highlights a shift in views on the issue since the independence referendum in 2014.
And Ms Sturgeon also said that the case for Scotland to become independent is an "entirely optimistic" one.
The First Minister said: "I think there is growing support for independence in Scotland and I think there is, accompanying that, a growing sense of urgency that if we don't want to get dragged down a path, and I'm not just talking about Brexit here although largely that's what I mean, but dragged down a sort of political path that we don't want to go down, then we need to consider becoming independent sooner rather than later.
"Anecdotally, I have been detecting that shift that's shown up in the Ashcroft poll for quite some time now and I think we are now starting to see that manifest itself in the opinion polls.
Ms Sturgeon added: "I think the case for independence is an entirely optimistic one, it's about being in charge of our future, it's about making our own luck, owning our own mistakes and learning from them."
The First Minister also said that independence supporters would not necessarily have to also support the SNP, stating that voters would be free to choose whichever government they want to have in an independent Scotland.
"You don't have to support the SNP to support independence," said the First Minister.
"People in an independent Scotland will be able to vote for whichever government they want and if that is a right-of-centre government, then that's what they'll elect.
"As it happens, I don't think it is likely that Scotland would vote for a right-of-centre government, but who knows what will happen in the future.
"If you don't support the SNP, you don't have to vote SNP in an independent Scotland, you can vote Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, whoever."
When asked what electoral system would be used in an independent Scotland, Ms Sturgeon added: "I've always been a proponent of Single Transferable Vote (STV), which we use for local government elections here.
"We have a different proportional system in the Scottish Parliament. I suspect, although this would be for discussion, we'd probably use the Scottish Parliament system for the first period and over time, if there was a majority to do that, to move to STV."