May’s spokesman responded to Sturgeon’s announcement by saying the evidence shows most people in Scotland don’t want another referendum.
Theresa May has accused the Scottish National Party of having “tunnel vision” and “playing politics” as it looks to hold a second independence referendum. May plans to trigger the two-year exit process by the end of March.
Sturgeon will seek Scottish Parliament’s permission to request a Section 30 order from the Westminster government next week, which will allow a fresh legally-binding referendum to be held once consent is granted. She revealed that May’s January decision to leave the single market was taken without consulting Scotland.
Some 55 per cent of Scottish voters chose “no” in a binding 2014 referendum asking whether the nation should be independent, but a clause behind that vote stipulated that Edinburgh could call a second vote if Scotland’s circumstances – such as its European Union status – changed. But circumstances have changed since then.
But, Sturgeon said, she “cannot pretend” that a compromise that would give the Scottish government what it wants within the United Kingdom looks “remotely likely”.
Dublin foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said such calls were premature but there is no doubt that the prospect of a hard Brexit has altered the dynamic on the island.
She added: “The option of no change is no longer available”.
Sturgeon is taking a big gamble.
The First Minister also insisted the timing of the referendum should be determined by Scotland and not by London.
But he made clear that if there is a vote in the Commons on whether Scotland should have another independence referendum, Labour “wouldn’t block it”.
Jacqueline Minor, the European commission’s head of representation in the United Kingdom, has said Scotland would need to formally apply after leaving the UK.
Ms May rejected Ms Sturgeon’s accusation that she had failed to accommodate Scotland’s interests in her approach to leaving the European Union, insisting that she was working closely with all the devolved administrations.
Scotland rejected independence from Britain in a closely watched vote in September 2014, and public opinion on the issue remains deeply divided.
Lord Dunlop said the result of the referendum held in 2014 should be respected.