Independence Referendum Plans Statement 'Likely' Before Holyrood Recess

20 June 2017, 13:58

scottish parliament

Nicola Sturgeon is ''likely'' to make a statement on plans for a second independence referendum before Holyrood breaks up for the summer, a spokesman has said.

The First Minister has been reflecting on Scottish Government proposals for a fresh ballot on the issue in the wake of the General Election result, which saw the SNP lose 21 seats at Westminster after the party's share of the vote fell from 50% to 37%.

Ms Sturgeon led discussions on independence when her cabinet team met in Edinburgh on Tuesday morning - almost two weeks on from the election.

A spokesman for the First Minister said afterwards: ''There was a discussion led by the First Minister on an independence referendum and related issues.

''That forms part of the process she laid out after the election and she will continue to consult with Government and party colleagues, and will lay out her views on the way forward in due course.''

When asked if this would be before Holyrood breaks up for the summer recess at the close of business on Thursday June 29, he stated: ''I think it is likely before then.''

The spokesman added there was not ''an exact timetable'' for when any announcement would be made.

It comes after the First Minister announced in March that the Scottish Government wanted to hold another ballot on leaving the UK some time between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, when the results of the Brexit deal are known.

Ms Sturgeon insisted such a vote was necessary to give Scots an alternative to a ''hard Brexit'' after nearly two-thirds of people north of the border voted to stay part of the European Union (EU).

Following the election results, the SNP leader has faced increasing demands from Unionist politicians to put any plans for another referendum on hold.

In the immediate aftermath of the General Election, Ms Sturgeon conceded her plans for a second independence referendum were ''undoubtedly'' a factor in the results.

She said at the time: ''We will reflect on these results, we will listen to voters and we will consider very carefully the best way forward for Scotland, a way forward that is in the interests of all of Scotland.''