PM tells Sturgeon 'now is not the time' for Scottish independence referendum

Theresa May swipes at Nicola Sturgeon as she welcomes the safe passing of unamended Brexit Bill allowing her to trigger Article 50

Theresa May swipes at Nicola Sturgeon as she welcomes the safe passing of unamended Brexit Bill allowing her to trigger Article 50

Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that she would seek a second Scottish referendum threw a spanner in the works - but Downing Street insisted that it was always the intention to trigger later in March.

The 1998 Scotland Act, which created the Scottish parliament, reserved some powers to Westminster, including the constitution.

"If the Tories refuse to do so, they would effectively be blocking Scotland's right to choose when the Brexit terms clear. this would be undemocratic given scotgov clear mandate and also proof positive that the Tories fear the verdict of the Scottish people".

He declined to clarify if or when a vote could take place.

"Right now we should be working together, not pulling apart", she said.

"To be talking about an independence referendum will make it more hard for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland, and the right deal for the UK".

"As we embark on the process of negotiating a new relationship with the European Union, I'm going to be fighting for every person, every family, every business across the whole of the United Kingdom".

Ms Sturgeon will ask her MSPs next week for permission to open discussions on a second referendum with Mrs May but needs the Prime Minister's permission to hold a vote.

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"If we were to keep to the First Minister's timetable this is exactly what would happen in Scotland too". In the context of the peers agreeing to allow the passage of the bill unamended, Britain gets posited on what the Brexit secretary, David Davis, has called "the threshold of the most important negotiation for our country in a generation".

"If the SNP insists on pressing ahead, we will argue that a referendum can not happen when the Scottish people have not been given the opportunity to see how our new relationship with the European Union is working".

Secondly, Ms Davidson said that Scots should know "what the alternative entails" and argued there has not been any clarity from the SNP on even "basic questions" about independence. May has not ruled out a later independence vote - but her stance could boost support for independence because it smacks of London meddling in Scottish affairs.

May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon both dug in their heels in a showdown that could complicate Britain's path out of the European Union and threaten the future of the United Kingdom.

'What we have to do, as we did in 2014 but now in the different circumstances we face, is, before people are asked to make that choice, set out the process by which we secure our relationship with Europe. "The time frame was put forward by the First Minister".

"That established that a referendum must be legal, fair and decisive".

The country's First Minister has been no less robust in her counter-criticism, saying that "our efforts at compromise have been met with a brick wall of intransigence".

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