Nicola Sturgeon: Independence vote by 2021 even if UK stays in EU

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Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that her timetable for a second independence referendum before 2021 will remain if the UK chooses to stay in the EU.

The First Minister said she would “not necessarily” abandon her independence plans even if there is a second EU referendum that reverses Brexit, citing the risk of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon was speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show

Nicola Sturgeon was speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show

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She set out her ambition to hold a second vote on Scotland’s constitutional future before the next Holyrood election in 2021, despite the UK Government’s insistence that it will not grant the Scottish Government the powers to do so.

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether a vote to remain in the EU “removes the need for an imminent Scottish independence referendum”, Ms Sturgeon said: “Not necessarily, no, because I think things are changing rapidly.

“The last thing I think I should be doing right now is narrowing Scotland’s options.

“We could be facing the prospect in the near future of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister so the last thing I should be doing is narrowing Scotland’s options.

“I think after all of the experience of the last three years, Scotland should have the opportunity to decide whether we want to become an independent European nation.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden said: “Nicola Sturgeon has used Brexit as an excuse for pursuing a second independence referendum for the last three years.

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“Today she has confirmed what we knew all along – Brexit was always just a fig leaf to hide her only real priority.

“Whether the UK is in or out of the EU, her answer will always be the same - independence.”