Thursday 8 December 2016

Scottish government to publish Bill on second independence vote next week

Katrine Bussey

Published 13/10/2016 | 12:01

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The Scottish Government will publish a Bill for a second independence referendum within days, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

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She said the move is necessary so Scots can reconsider the issue in light of the vote for Brexit and "to do so before the UK leaves the EU".

She told delegates at the SNP conference in Glasgow that an Independence Referendum Bill is to be published for consultation by her Government next week.

She also used her opening speech to send a firm message to Prime Minister Theresa May, telling her: "If you think for one single second that I'm not serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland's interests, then think again.

"If you can't - or won't - allow us to protect our interests within the UK, then Scotland will have the right to decide, afresh, if it wants to take a different path."

Almost two-thirds (62pc) of Scots voted to Remain part of the European Union, and Ms Sturgeon told the Prime Minister: "Scotland didn't choose to be in this situation - your party put us here."

While Scots rejected independence in the referendum in September 2014, the SNP leader said in the run-up to that vote that Westminster leaders had insisted Scotland was "an equal partner in the UK".

But in the wake of the European referendum in June, she said the moment has now come to prove it.

Ms Sturgeon told the conference: "I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence - and to do so before the UK leaves the EU - if that is necessary to protect our country's interests.

"So I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week."

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