Theresa May braces for indyref2 in August 2018

The UK Prime Minister is drawing up secret plans to combat the next independence campaign in the belief that Nicola Sturgeon will demand a referendum next August.

Downing Street insiders say Theresa May is worried Nicola Sturgeon will call for another referendum at the SNP conference next month. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License
Downing Street insiders say Theresa May is worried Nicola Sturgeon will call for another referendum at the SNP conference next month. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License

Downing Street is working with Scottish Conservatives to lay the foundations for key meetings with SNP ministers over a second independence referendum, The Courier reported.

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Theresa May is believed to be “war gaming” with the Scotland Office and Ruth Davidson as speculation mounts that the First Minister will announce her intention to hold another constitutional vote at the SNP conference next month.

A senior Scottish Tory insider told the Courier: “We need to be prepared.

“Listening to what they [the SNP] have been saying in the past few days the timing could be even faster than August.

“This is about making sure we are calm and collected ahead of any negotiations.

A source close to Downing Street said confirmed “contingency” talks are ongoing as the prospect of indyref2 looms on the horizon.

The source said: “The issue which people have got a bit back to front is the Scottish Government cannot call a referendum.

“We had an agreement last time and would need agreement on issues such as timing, the franchise and the question again.

“Obviously a lot of people have speculated [Ms. Sturgeon] is under a lot of pressure at conference in March but most people don’t want a referendum in the next two years.

“We always have to have contigency arrangements if issues arise.”

In the wake of the announcement that Britain will leave the EU’s single market, Nicola Sturgeon warned that in the coming weeks she will decide whether to call another independence referendum after talks with Prime Minister Theresa May failed to resolve concerns.

Last week the UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon suggested the Westminster Government would block another independence vote.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-coming-weeks-to-hold-key-to-calling-indyref2-1-4353362