Nicola Sturgeon says a second independence referendum will be called between autumn 2018 and spring 2019
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.
The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU.
She said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week to request a Section 30 order from Westminster.
The order would be needed to allow a fresh legally-binding referendum on independence to be held.
Prime Minister Theresa May has so far avoided saying whether or not she would grant permission.
Her official spokesman responded to Ms Sturgeon’s announcement by saying that the evidence “clearly showed a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum”.
‘Worst possible time’
He added: “Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote.
“Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time”.
But speaking at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said the people of Scotland must be offered a choice between a “hard Brexit” and becoming an independent country.
The Scottish government has published proposals which it says would allow Scotland to remain a member of the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves, which Mrs May has said it will.