Sturgeon softens attitude to timing of independence poll
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has softened her stance on a second independence referendum after UK Prime Minister Theresa May rejected her call to hold a vote before Britain leaves the EU.
Ms Sturgeon had called for a referendum to be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 but after Mrs May said "now is not the time", the Scottish leader said she could be prepared to hold a vote later as long as it was not too long after Brexit.
"It is for (May) then to say what timescale she thinks would be appropriate and then, yes, I am happy to have that discussion within reason," Ms Sturgeon said.
Asked weather a vote in 2021 would be reasonable, Ms Sturgeon said it would not because too much time would have lapsed after Britain's EU exit, due in late March 2019, and there could have been too much divergence in areas such as regulations.
"Then gets much harder for Scotland to seek a different course. But if she is talking in the spring of 2019, a bit later perhaps than I was suggesting, then there may be some room for discussion around that," she said.
Ms Sturgeon's comments came as a new poll, carried out since her announcement that she would seek a fresh referendum, put support for independence at 44pc, while 56pc backed staying in the United Kingdom.
It also found 51pc of Scots did not want a vote on independence within the next few years. Ruth Davidson, the leader of Mrs May's Conservative Party in Scotland, said any vote could not take place until "after the Brexit process has played out" so that the Scottish people knew what choice they faced.
"I don't think you can have an independence referendum again if you don't have public consent for it and the people of Scotland don't want this," she told BBC TV.
"The SNP is not Scotland and they are acting against the majority wishes of the people of Scotland."